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Basilica of Saint Mary
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, Minnesota was the first Catholic basilica in North America. This stunning example of Beaux-Arts architecture in downtown Minneapolis is also the co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It is a must-see attraction in the Twin Cities, whether you simply view its exquisite exterior or explore the interior to marvel at its architectural design and impressive religious artwork.
HistoryThe Basilica of Saint Mary was constructed in Minneapolis between 1907 and 1915 and was officially named the first basilica in North America by Pope Pius XI in 1926. It was built on the site of the first Catholic church in Minneapolis west of the Mississippi River , known as the “Shed Church”, which was later replaced by a Gothic Revival church in 1873. However, in the early 1900s, the city’s Catholic community decided to build a new cathedral which eventually became the present-day basilica.
ArchitectureIn addition to being a historic religious landmark, the Basilica of Saint Mary is also known as one of the city’s most prominent architectural landmarks. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts architectural style in the entire United States due to spectacular features such as a colonnaded portico, an immense nave, and a beautiful dome topped with a bronze cross.
AttractionsThere are plenty of things to see and do at the Basilica of Saint Mary. If you’re interested in art, you can view the impressive art gallery, permanent art collection, and the many depictions of saints located throughout the basilica. Architecture lovers can also view the exquisite design of the building, its stained glass windows, and its bells, or you can learn all about religion by attending the annual Icon Festival.
Basilica SaintsThere are several beautiful, artistic representations of various Catholic saints located throughout the church. Depictions of Mary, who the basilica is dedicated to, include a mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a painting on wood of Our Lady of Ethiopia, and a marble sculpture of Our Lady of La’Vang, who is venerated by Vietnamese Catholics. There are also impressive religious sculptures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Anne, Mother of Mary, and Saint John Vianney.
John XXIII GalleryThis gallery, named after Pope John XXIII, features a wide range of religious artwork, including paintings, carvings, textiles, and multimedia installations. It is open Saturdays from 10:00 until 18:30 and Sundays from 7:30 until 20:00.
Mary GardenOne of the most serene areas of the basilica is the Mary Garden, an enclosed garden designed to honor Mary. This quiet garden features a variety of beautiful plants and flowers and has plenty of space for visitors to sit and reflect.
Bells of Saint MaryThe basilica also contains six bells which are named after saints from the Americas. They are rung throughout the year to announce important events, community celebrations, and have even been used to warn people of natural disasters.
Stained Glass WindowsOne of the highlights of the Basilica of Saint Mary is its spectacular collection of stained glass windows, which depict various Christian narratives. The basilica’s first set of stained glass windows was completed in 1924, and can still be viewed today.
Liturgical Vessels and TextilesThe basilica also contains an array of spectacular liturgical vessels such as chalices, patens, monstrances, and ciboriums from the past and present. It also has a collection of liturgical textiles, including garments such as albs, chasubles, copes, dalmatics, and stoles.
Permanent Art CollectionsIf you like art, you’ll want to explore the numerous pieces contained within the basilica’s permanent collections. Items include paintings, sculptures, and woodcarvings from across the globe that span five centuries of history.
Icon FestivalEach year since 1995, the basilica has hosted the annual Icon Festival, which is designed to teach Catholics about various Orthodox Churches throughout the Twin Cities. It features icon exhibits, processions, classes, concerts, visits to local churches, and evening prayers from various Orthodox traditions. If you’re interested in learning about religious traditions, it’s a fascinating event to attend in November.
Practical InformationHere’s everything you need to know in order to plan your visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary.
ParkingThere are several nearby parking options, including a parking lot under the freeway that is free on weekends and the MCTC parking ramp, which costs $ 5.00 USD on weekdays.
Address88 N 17th St, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Opening HoursThe basilica is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 until 17:00, Saturdays from 8:00 until 18:30, and Sundays from 6:30 until 19:30.
PricesAdmission to the basilica is always free, though donations are appreciated.
Similar LandmarksOther notable churches in the United States include the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in Saint Louis and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Jun 30, 2015