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Pope Francis Designates Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains a Minor Basilica

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On Saturday, Aug. 15, the Assumption of Mary, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr announced that the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains has been designated as a minor basilica, the first for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

During the 11:30 a.m. Mass, Archbishop Schnurr commented:

“With a great sense of joy, I bring to you this day the wonderful news that our Cathedral is now amongst those churches designated and recognized in the world as a minor basilica. It is my duty and responsibility this morning to read the decree of concession publicly inaugurating the special relationship this great cathedral now enjoys with the See of Rome.”

The decree, issued by the Vatican, reads:

“At the request of his Excellency and Most Reverend Dennis Marion Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, with his letter from the 18th of August 2019 expressing the prayers and desires of the clergy and all the Christian faithful, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments by the power of the particular faculties conferred to it by the Supreme Pontiff, FRANCIS, most willingly bestows upon the Cathedral Church of Cincinnati, dedicated to God in honor of Saint Peter “in Chains” the title and dignity of a MINOR BASILICA with all the corresponding rights and customary liturgical privileges, all things being rightly observed in accordance with the decree Concerning the Title of Minor Basilica “Domus Ecclesiae,” issued on the 9th of November 1989.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on the Solemnity of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul, the 29th day of June of the year 2020.”

In 2018, Father Jan Schmidt, Rector of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains since 2017, with permission from Archbishop Schnurr, requested that the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments grant the title of minor basilica to the historic church in Cincinnati. The cathedral, which will celebrate its 175th anniversary this November, is the oldest cathedral built as a cathedral that is still in use in the U.S.

The designation of minor basilica is both an honor for the region and a reason for the local faithful to celebrate, said Father Schmidt. “It’s the quality of the cathedral’s structure, the absolute beauty of its architecture, the biblical symbolism throughout, the quality and prayerfulness of its liturgy and ecclesiastical significance as a cathedral that make it very important and very special for the archdiocese and in the American Catholic scene,” he said.

In attendance at the Mass to hear the historic announcement was Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and his family.

“The Catholic Church and the large number of Catholics in our region have helped make the Greater Cincinnati area the great place it is to live, work, play and pray,” said Mayor Cranley. “From starting the major hospitals that have cared for the sick, to feeding the hungry and helping the poor, to educating generations of Catholics who have risen out of poverty and to the heights of civic and business leadership, the Catholic Church has provided a living testament to its core beliefs, and this Basilica has served as a beautiful physical embodiment – a sort of Statue of Liberty – of these good works and serves as an ever-present reminder to Catholic Cincinnatians that they have a proud spiritual home.”

St. Peter in Chains is the first basilica in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and the sixth in the state of Ohio.

A special Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 11:30 a.m. to mark the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the dedication of the church. During the Mass, the symbols granted in virtue of the church’s designation as a minor basilica will debut for the first time.

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