What's a basilica? We hear this question very often. Dating back to ancient times, a basilica was typical of the indoor shopping mall--not a religious building at all! Basilica architecture was the style of the building. When Christianity became the religion of the empire (Roman, that is), our ancestors took over these amazing buildings. They became centers of the faith to which pilgrims flocked. Today four Major Basilicas (all in Rome) are special centers of Catholic devotional life: St. Peter's, St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. John Lateran. The Basilica of Saint Josaphat is a Minor Basilica created by Pope Pius XI in 1929 (the third church so honored in the USA). It fulfilled the necessary characteristics required by the Church to be so designated. Namely: it is a place of pilgrimage and special devotion, it is a center of historic significance for the Faith, and it is architecturally and artistically qualified for such an honor. Pat terned after St. Peter's in Rome, it has all the elements of a classical Romanesque basilica. It is recognized by the city of Milwaukee as an officially designated landmark.
The Basilica is also a Franciscan center for prayer and spirituality. The friars invite you to join us as we unfold this special story of Faith. Learn about our Parish, our rootedness in Roman Catholicism and Polish culture, the beauty of the Basilica, and the history of this great structure.
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