.- Pope Benedict XVI has granted minor basilica status to Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Wisconsin. Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee, shared the news during a special mass July 16th, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Discalced Carmelite Friars, who care for the popular pilgrimage site.
The Basilica of Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians is one of 56 churches so honored in the United States and the second in Wisconsin. The Basilica of Saint Josaphat was named by Pope Pius XI in 1929.
The process to acquire this new status was initiated by the Discalced Carmelite Friars last April and supported by Archbishop Dolan. Approval of the designation request required materials documenting Holy Hill as a place of pilgrimage and special devotion, and a center of historic significance, characterized by architecture and artistry.
More than 250,000 people of all cultural groups visit Holy Hill annually. Its history is believed to extend back to the evangelization of the region by French explorer and Jesuit Father, Jacques Marquette, who is said to have surveyed the expansive beauty of the region from atop the hill. Since that time the hill has became a special place of prayer and faith.
Holy Hill is located 1,350 feet above sea level, offering visitors a spectacular view.
For more information on Holy Hill, visit www.holyhill.com