Hey, it’s Monday, so I’m actually “on time” with my Light in Darkness post this week with Maria.
This week, again, comes from my own Parish, St Mary.
Our parish was designated a Shrine to the Blessed Mother about 8 years ago and last Thursday we got this awesome news:
Press Release from:
Very Reverend Robert J. “Fr. Bob” Kus
On August 2, 2013, St. Mary Church was officially declared a minor basilica.
The new official name of the church is now:
The Basilica Shrine of St. Mary.
St. Mary Church was built by Rafael Gustavino (architect) and his son by the same name (an engineer) between 1908-1911. Gustavino built much of New York City.
Cardinal James Gibbons blessed the church in 1912.
St. Mary Church is on the National Registry of Historic Places
In December 1995, St. Mary Church became the one and only shrine of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, now, in August of 2013, it is officially also a basilica.
A “shrine” is the designation given to a church that is a spiritual destination for pilgrims.
A “basilica” is a church of particular historic, artistic, or devotional importance honored by the pope.
There are only 4 major basilicas in the world, all of them in Rome. All of the others are named “minor” basilicas.
St. Lawrence Basilica, also build by Rafael Gustavino, is in Asheville in the Diocese of Charlotte.
On Sunday, September 8, 2013, we will have a special Mass with the Bishop of Raleigh at Noon. On that day, our usual 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Masses will be cancelled. The noon Mass will be bilingual (Spanish & English).
That’s right, we’re now on the National Registry of Historic Places, a Shrine AND a minor Basilica. 15 years ago our parish was in a very sorry state of affairs and none of us saw any of this coming. As our priest said when reading the letter from the Bishop after the Homily yesterday, now that we’re all three, we’re the place to be, we’re “where it’s at.” But what this represents is much more than bragging rights. It represents a community that has come together to save ourselves, as a community. We’ve risen from the ashes and been stronger. God told St Francis of Assisi to “Go, Build my Church.” And under the guidance of our Blessed Mother, our patron, we had done so. And under the first Pope named Francis, our Parish has a full acknowledgment of what that means, and what we did to get there. Christ tells in the Gospels that He will tear down the Temple and rebuild it in three days. There was a lot of uncomfortable “tearing down” at our Parish over the years, but we have been rebuilt stronger and better.