Another Minor Basilica in my native state

PRESS RELEASE: St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish Named a Minor Basilica by Vatican

Through the faculties granted by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has declared that Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Winona, Minn., has assumed the status of “Minor Basilica,” emphasizing the special bond that the parish has with the Pope and with the whole Catholic Church.  This Decree was made on November 10, 2011 and announced to the congregation this past weekend.  Read the FULL PRESS RELEASE attached to this email or online at

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  1. Centristian says:

    Winona! Dun-dun-dun!

    Never mind. Moving right along…I often wonder what sorts of ecclesiastical politics are involved in getting a church named a basilica. In my own diocese we have a few of them, one which unquestionably deserves the distinction and one which couldn’t possibly have merited such an honor on its own merit. There’s at least one more, but I’ve never seen it (and I think the diocese just closed it down, in any case).

    The church that really deserves the style is actually basilican in form. It is a magnificent baroque edifice, glorious inside and out, and crowned with an enormous dome that looms over the south of the city the way the Capitol dome looms over SE Washington DC. This church was built by a renowned and saintly priest whose cause for canonization is under way at Rome (he is currently venerable). The place looks like something the Pope would have as his home away from Rome. It is all marble and gilt and cherubs and columns and frescoed ceilings to such an extent as to utterly overwhelm. It is wholly worthy of the style “basilica” and was so named by Pope Pius XI in 192?.

    There is another church in this diocese, however, that was named a basilica by Pope Paul VI. This particular church is small, circular, and absurd looking. If anyone is old enough to remember those Nescafe mugs from the 70s: those glass coffee cups with latitude and longitude lines etched on them like half a globe? If you remember those, turn one upside down and imagine it the size of a larger Thruway/Interstate rest stop. That’s exactly what this church looks like: a glass coffee cup turned upside down. The interior…ugh…don’t even get me started. If you can imagine the ugliest 60s era theatre-in-the-round church you’ve ever seen and then imagine that somebody had vandalized it, you’ll have an idea of what this place looks like. And it’s small! There is nothing grand or noble or distinctive about this building. Nothing! And yet it has the nerve to call itself a basilica.

    There is no way a Pope, not even Paul VI, would examine photos of such an utterly unworthy little structure and honor it by calling it what it so obviously and manifestly could never authentically be. So I’m guessing there have to be politics involved when a church is presented with that ennobling red and yellow umbrella.

  2. Darren says:

    How many minor basilicas does Minnesota have? Does any particular state lead the way? I know we have one in NJ in Newark.

  3. jmvm says:


    I am not sure which state leads the way, but New York City has the most basilicas in the United States. I am also not sure on completeness or accuracy, but wikpedia seems to have a fairly reasonable list at

  4. Steven says:

    This is the second basilica in Minnesota. St. Mary’s Basilica in St. Paul is the other.

  5. Darren says:

    jmvm: Wikipedia is usually pretty accurate with most things. I was afraid it was going to list the current St. Patrick’s as a Basilica in error, but glad it does not. Having seen the list I do recall reading of one of the ones in Brooklyn. I have been to Old St. Patrick’s earlier this year, very nice (except for the big plain glass windows between the vestibule and the church – the one thing I did not like.

    In general, one must remember that the title of basilica is not just given to architecturally beautiful large churches. The significance to the local area in relation to the Holy Father is also taken into consideration. I have been to many parish churches more beautiful that some minor basilicas. However, I must say I am disappointed when I visit a basilica and it looks like nothing more than a pretty nice church.

    I do leave you with this link to photos of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, in Newark, NJ. It is one of my favorite places, with the largest rose window of any Catholic church in the United States and definitely one of the largest pipe organs in the US as well (the place really shakes when that organ is being played all out!)

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