Jun 4, 2012 / 23:46 pm
A historic Florida parish dedicated to the Virgin Mary as “Star of the Sea” has been granted the status of a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI, a move celebrated at its official dedication on May 31.
As he expressed gratitude to the Pope, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski told a 1,200-strong congregation that the church's new designation signifies “the special bond that joins this local Church to the successor of St. Peter.”
The Keys of St. Peter, and other papal symbols, will now serve as identifying visual marks of the historic Florida church. Archbishop Wenski said this honor signified the unity of the worldwide Catholic Church, which “is realized 'cum Petro' and 'sub Petro': with Peter and under Peter.”
As he celebrated Mass on the Feast of the Visitation of Mary, the archbishop reflected on the history of the new basilica, which is South Florida's oldest Catholic parish. Constructed in 1851, it was rebuilt after a fire in 1901.