The month of May is dedicated in a special way to Mary, the Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and Patroness of The Basilica. In the 167-page book The Basilica of St. Mary of Minneapolis, Historical and Descriptive Sketch by Monsignor James Reardon, Basilica Pastor from 1921-1963, he translates the Latin inscription on The Basilica’s easterly cornerstone: “To God, Great and Good: The Cornerstone of this Pro-Cathedral Church, dedicated under the title of Mary, Mother of God, Virgin conceived without the primal stain, and destined to adorn the City of Minneapolis, was laid with solemn rite on the thirty-first day of May in the year of Our Lord, 1908.”
The first Mass in The Basilica was offered six years after the cornerstone was laid, on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 1914. There is also a plaque in the nave from 1939, which states “Gratefully dedicated to the honor and glory of God by the Basilica of Saint Mary of Minneapolis on the 25th anniversary of the first solemn high Mass celebrated in its sanctuary on the Feast of Pentecost.” The plaque also bears the quote “I have chosen and have sanctified this place that my name may be there forever.” Even Pope Pius XI’s 1926 decree designating our status as a minor Basilica notes a building “conspicuous in the City of Minneapolis, within the territory of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul…dedicated to Saint Mary, right noble in its structure and specimens of art.”
There are references to and depictions of Mary throughout our church building, most noticeably the apex of our exterior front facade depicting the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the magnificent stained glass rose and clerestory windows featuring scenes from her life. Mary’s distinctive colors of white for purity, blue for truth, gold for glory, and red for love are used throughout the interior, and Marian symbols, including a pomegranate, lily, fleur de lis, rose, and star, are carved in the stone beneath the stained glass clerestory windows.
Guests of all ages are invited to our family friendly Mary Crowning event on Sunday, May 7, at 3:30pm. Some activities include:
- 3:30-4:10pm– Finding depictions of Mary in The Basilica, using “scavenger hunt” worksheets created for different age ranges, and making flower crowns or boutonnieres to take home.
- 4:10-4:20pm– A short ceremony of song, prayer, and the crowning of Mary in the Immaculate Conception chapel of The Basilica.
- 4:20pm-4:40pm– Cookies and punch in the Mary Garden on the west side of the church (or, in case of rain/cold, in the sacristy), and taking home a seedling of fresh rosemary to grow at home.
- Guests are also invited to stay for 5pm Mass
You can find additional event details and a registration link at https://mary.org/mary-crowning.
Director of Engagement