Sunday, October 20, 2013

North America's First Basilica

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis.

From the story of its consecration in the summer of '41:

"It would stand thereafter as a memorial to the great Congress of American Catholics in which sacrifice had been the central theme.  People were gathering outside the closed doors of the church when the group of clerics with the consecrating Cardinal came from the sanctuary and went out the central door to circle the building thrice with prayer and the sprinkling of holy water.  Returning within, the pavement of the middle aisle was marked from end to end in diagonal lines with the letters of the Greek and Roman alphabets.  The walls were anointed and the consecration candles lit before the permanent crosses that mark the consecrated church, and then the high altar was consecrated.  When the latter point had been reached other bishops and archbishops proceeded to the seven other altars of the church, each of which was to be consecrated by a separate prelate at the same time the Cardinal consecrated the main table of sacrifice.  These who so assisted were Their Excellencies Archbishop Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Murray of St. Paul, Bishop Lawler of Rapid City, Bishop Morrison of Antigonish, N.S., Bishop Kelley of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Bishop Kelly of Winona, and Bishop Muench of Fargo.  At the conclusion of the consecration ceremony, a pontifical Mass was celebrated by the Ordinary of the Archdiocese at which he also preached.  A dinner at the Curtis Hotel afterwards was tendered to those who had taken part in the consecration and Mass."

-Ninth National Eucharistic Congress (Official History and Record, p. 48).

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