Detroit parish designated Michigan's third minor basilica

Ste Anne de Detroit Catholic Church Credit JA Dunbar Shutterstock Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic Church. | J.A. Dunbar/Shutterstock.

The Archdiocese of Detroit announced Sunday that Pope Francis has granted the title of minor basilica to Ste. Anne Church in Detroit, one of the longest continuously operating parishes in the country.

"At its founding on the Feast of St. Anne in 1701, this parish was among the first fruits of a new missionary diocese," Archbishop Allen Vigneron said March 1.

"I consider this designation as a basilica to be a providential reminder that today, we each are called to continue this same mission to unleash the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the men and women of our time."

The title of minor basilica is an honor bestowed by the pope to signify a church of "particular importance for liturgical and pastoral life," and signify a "particular link" with Rome and the pope, according to the norms laid out in the Congregation for Divine Worship's 1989 document Domus Ecclesiae.

The United States is now home to 86 minor basilicas. Around 1,700 churches are designated as such worldwide; there exist only four major basilicas, all of which are located in Rome.

The parish submitted its application to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments during July 2018. Conditions for obtaining the title include the church's status as "a center of active and pastoral liturgy;" "a certain renown throughout the diocese;" and "historical value or importance of the church and the worthiness of its art."

St. Anne is the patroness of Detroit. Archbishop Vigneron in 2017 designated a side altar of the church, which includes a first-class relic of St. Anne, as an archdiocesan shrine. A symbol of St. Ann appears on the archdiocesan coat of arms.

French missionaries founded the parish in 1701, just two days after a party of French explorers established the city of Detroit.

The current building, which is the eighth in the parish's history, dates to 1887 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

According to Detroit Catholic, the parish is the one of the oldest in the United States.

The parish is known for an annual novena to St. Anne that has been going for more than 100 years. It is also a participant in Matthew Kelly's "Dynamic Parish" program.

Ste. Anne is the first basilica elevated in Michigan since 2015, when Pope Francis elevated the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. St. Adalbert in Grand Rapids received the title in 1980.

Ste. Anne is in need of an extensive renovation that includes a new roof, work on the exterior walls and foundation and a new HVAC system and furnace.

According to Detroit Catholic, Ste. Anne's pastor has estimated the renovations could cost upwards of $20 million.

Vigneron will celebrate the designation with a Mass April 26. After its designation, the church will exhibit the papal symbol of "crossed keys" and its pastor will enjoy the title of rector.

The faithful who devoutly visit the basilica and within it participate in any sacred rite or at least recite the Lord's Prayer and the profession of faith may, under the usual conditions, obtain a plenary indulgence on certain days of the year.

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