Notre Dame, Indiana- USA ~ Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Marie Sharp

Joined March 2008

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The Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Indiana, is a Catholic Church on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, also serving as the mother church of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States. The neo-gothic church features 44 large stained glass windows and murals completed over a 17 year period by Vatican painter Luigi Gregori. The basilica bell tower stands 218 feet (66 m) high.

The current edifice was preceded by a smaller structure erected in 1848 by Father Edward Sorin, CSC, the founder of the University of Notre Dame. The current neo-gothic church was begun in 1870 and consecrated by Bishop Joseph Gregory Dwenger on August 15, 1888. In 1968, the church was renovated with the intention of bringing it in line with the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, although some claim that renovations of this type were not mandated by the Council. The church again received a renovation 20 years later executed by Conrad Schmitt Studios. The conservation and restoration of the historic stained glass windows, created in LeMans, France, was one of the studio’s largest single projects, with 116 windows and over 1200 panels of glass. On January 17, 1992, Pope John Paul II raised the Church of the Sacred Heart to the status of Basilica. This status helps make it a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists to the site, who number around 50,000 per year. At one time, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky CSC of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, was rector of the basilica, before he became head of the religious community there and later auxiliary bishop and vicar general of the diocese. Under his tenure, many strides and revisions were made and the church was elevated to a Basilica.

Mass is held twice daily while the university is in session and once daily during breaks. Each weekend there are three Sunday Masses celebrated for students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Basilica is a popular place for weddings of Notre Dame alumni, hosting several weddings each Saturday that the Fighting Irish do not have a home football game. The Basilica has also been the site of Final Professions and ordination Masses for the Congregation of Holy Cross, as well as funerals for the religious community and for alumni.

Each Sunday evening the Basilica holds Solemn Vespers and a special service during Advent known as Lessons and Carols. Stations of the Cross is celebrated each Friday during the season of Lent. At other times throughout the year the Basilica is host to special liturgies of all kinds.

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