Philadelphia, Pa., Mar 1, 2019 / 03:06 am
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced that the recently constructed tomb of St. Katharine Drexel at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul has been declared an archdiocesan shrine.
“We are the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and the Archdiocese Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel,” the cathedral’s rector and pastor, Father Dennis Gill, explained.
“The tomb [had] already taken on a level of importance in the life of our local Church being here at the cathedral,” he told CNA.
Drexel’s sacred remains were transferred to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia last year. Previously, her body was buried at the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Motherhouse and Shrine in Bensalem, Pa. That shrine closed at the end of 2017, about 18 months after the sisters announced that they intended to sell the property. The smaller number of sisters found it difficult to maintain the relatively large property.
Drexel and her family had attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica when she was a child.
A solemn celebration for the tomb’s installation was held in November and led by Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Gill said the Cathedral quickly saw an increase of pilgrims seeking to visit and pray at the saint’s tomb. The priest then suggested the idea to the archbishop, who welcomed the decision and granted the decree on Feb. 19.
“We noticed very quickly that people where coming in larger numbers with each week to come and visit the tomb and pray,” he said.