The Basilica ShrineJamie Trueblood
The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Mass of Thanksgiving
On April 29, The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal welcomed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Vincentians , and the Catholic community for a Mass of Thanksgiving. The Mass celebrated the Pope’s recent elevation of the Shrine to Minor Basilica.
Mass of Thanksgiving
His Excellency, The Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez, Archbishop of Philadelphia, was the principal celebrant of the service commemorating this monumental achievement. Fr. Stephen M. Grozio, CM, provincial of the Vincentians of the Eastern Province, offered the homily. Concelebrants included Fr. John T. Maher, CM, superior of St. Vincent’s Seminary; and Fr. Timothy V. Lyons, CM, rector of The Basilica Shrine. Mary Jo Timlin-Hoag, CEO, Central Association of the Miraculous Medal (CAMM), recited the Decree of Concession, which formally recognizes The Basilica Shrine as a Minor Basilica.
Archbishop Pérez commented on the significance of the celebration. “With joy and enthusiasm, we celebrate Holy Mass and the Pope’s Decree of Concession. The Archdiocese is blessed to be the home of this world-renowned beacon of devotion to Our Blessed Mother. I congratulate the Vincentians and all those who support their ministry.” Through this title, the Church recognizes The Basilica Shrine for this Papal bond and its religious, artistic, and architectural significance.
The Application Process
Saturday’s service marked the culmination of years of CAMM’s preparation and reporting to the Vatican in collaboration with the Vincentians. The Shrine is now recognized as an exemplar of liturgical and pastoral action within the Archdiocese. Minor Basilicas are given prominence among other churches and shrines, receive certain honorifics, and are tasked with special responsibilities. Basilica central functions are rooted in its sacramental life as a pilgrimage site, a historical landmark, and a house of significant sacred art.
Minor Basilica Privileges and Responsibilities
The Minor Basilica title affords the Shrine certain privileges and responsibilities:
– celebration of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter
– the solemnity of the Holy Apostles, Peter, and Paul
– the anniversary and inauguration of the sitting pope’s election into pastoral ministry
Additionally, since the designation denotes a special bond with the residing pope, The Basilica Shrine can grant plenary indulgence. This involves the removal of all temporal consequences of sin to individuals, which remain even after the person’s sin is forgiven.
Symbols of a Basilica
During the service, The Basilica Shrine unveiled the traditional symbols of a basilica, including the ombrellino, a canopy of yellow and red silk, and the tintinnabulum, a bell mounted on a pole used to signal papal visits. Together, these objects comprise the Papal Insignia. Moving forward, The Basilica Shrine will also hold the privilege of displaying Vatican City’s coat of arms on its façade and the crossed keys of St. Peter on its furnishings and liturgical appointments.