St. Lawrence Basilica: Significance of Basilica in the Catholic World

St. Lawrence Basilica: Significance of Basilica in the Catholic World


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By Dr. Eugene DSouza
Bellevision Media Network

Karkal, 21 Jul 2016: It is a matter of great pride and honour to the people of the Udupi Diocese that one of the prominent historical shrines in the diocese dedicated to St. Lawrence at Attur-Karkala has been elevated to the status of Minor Basilica by Pope Francis in a Decree issued on April 26, 2016. St. Lawrence Minor Basilica is the 22nd in India, first being the Minor Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier have been preserved, and second in Karnataka, St Mary’s Basilica in Bangalore being the first one in the State.

 


St. Lawrence Shrine, Attur-Karkala

 

The Proclamation and Dedication of St. Lawrence Minor Basilica will take place on August 1, 2016 with a thanksgiving holy mass celebrated by Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from all over India along with hundreds of priests, religious and laity of the Dioceses of Udupi and Mangalore. This historical and memorable event will recognize the shrine of St. Lawrence as a sacred sanctuary of blessings, favours, reconciliation, peace, unity and communal harmony.

 

As we are about to witness the momentous, holy and historic event in our diocese, it would be appropriate to understand the meaning of ‘Basilicas’, their tradition in the Roman Catholic Church, their importance and significance to the faithful.

 

Meaning of ‘Basilica’:

The word ‘Basilica’ is derived from a Greek term ‘Basilike’ meaning “royal house.” In the Catholic world, a basilica is a church building that has been granted special privileges by the pope. Certain major churches have been honourd with the designation of  Basilicas owing to their antiquity, dignity, historical importance or significance as centres of worship.

 

Major and Minor Basilicas:

Basilicas are divided into two groups: Major Basilicas and Minor Basilicas. There are four Major Basilicas in the world, all of which are in Rome. They are also known as Papal Basilicas. These Major Basilicas are: St. John Lateran (Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome), St. Peter’s of the Vatican, St. Paul’s outside the walls and St. Mary Major. Major basilicas have the papal altars and holy doors which are opened at the beginning of a Jubilee Year.

 


Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

 


St. Peter’s Basilica

 


St. John Lateran Basilica

 


St. Paul, Outside the Walls Basilica, Rome

 

Criteria to declare a Church as Minor Basilica:


Minor or lesser Basilica is a title given to some Roman Catholic Churches. According to canon law, no church building can be honoured with the title of  basilica unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom. Presently, the authorising decree is granted by the Pope through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Minor Basilicas are significant churches in Rome and elsewhere in the world that meet certain criteria and are given special ecclesiastical privileges by the Pope. Besides having the attributes such as antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth they also should be significant centres of worship.

 

According to the 1989 Vatican document ‘Domus Ecclesiae’, a basilica must “stand out as a centre of active and pastoral liturgy.”  It should be sufficiently large and with an ample sanctuary. It should be renowned for history, relics or sacred images, and should be served by a sufficient number of priests and other ministers and by an adequate choir. Many basilicas are notable churches and often receive a large number of t pilgrims. In December 2009, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico set a record with 6.1 million pilgrims in two days for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 


Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

 

The process of obtaining the title of ‘Minor Basilica’ could last from a few months to a few years. In the case of St. Lawrence Shrine, Attur-Karkala, the title has been obtained within one and a half month from the day the definite proposal was sent to Vatican through the Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio. This manifests the fame and name of St. Lawrence Shrine.

 

Special Bond of Communion with the Pope:

Being designated as a ‘Basilica’, the shrine or church manifests a special bond of communion with the pope. The parish has to celebrate certain feasts associated with papacy such as the feast of the Chair of Peter on February 22, the solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29, and the anniversary of the pope’s election or his inauguration into his pastoral ministry.

 

Identification Marks of Minor Basilica:

The Minor Basilica is identified by the following three signs:


1.  The presence of the conopaeum — a silk canopy designed with stripes of yellow and red which are the traditional papal colours.

2. The tintinnabulum- a bell mounted on a pole and carried in procession along with the conopaeum at the head of the clergy on special occasions.

3. The Minor Basilica has the right to display the Papal Symbol of Crossed Keys on banners, furnishings and on the seal of the Basilica.

 

       
                     Conopaeum                                             Tintinnabulum                           Papal Symbol of Crossed Keys

 

A special privilege provided to the Rector of a Minor Basilica is that he may wear a black ‘mozetta’ or cap over his surplice with red piping, buttons, and buttonholes in the exercise of his office.

 


Mozetta

 

The other privileges granted to a Minor Basilica are related to the celebration of the liturgy, and the faithful may acquire a plenary indulgence on praying in the Basilica on certain particular days.

 

All over the world there are 1740 Minor Basilicas. Europe has the maximum number of Minor Basilicas. Following European countries have more than 100 Basilicas: Italy (554), France (170), Poland (134), Spain (112).

 

Minor Basilicas in India:

There are 22 Minor Basilicas in India. Among these 18 are of the Latin Rite, 3 of the Syro-Malabar Rite and 1 of the Syro-Malankara Rite. India is the country with the highest number of Basilicas in Asia.

 

No

Name of the Basilica

Location

Dedicated to

Year conferred

1

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Old Goa

Infant Jesus

1946

2

San Thome Basilica

Madras (Chennai)

Mother Mary

1956

3

Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount

Bombay (Mumbai)

Mother Mary

1954

4

Basilica of Our Lady of Graces

Meerut

Mother Mary

1961

5

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

Velankanni

Mother Mary

1962

6

St. Mary’s Basilica

Bangalore(Bengaluru)

Mother Mary

1973

7

St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica

Ernakulam

Mother Mary

1974

8

Basilica of Our Lady of the Snows

Tuticorin

Mother Mary

1982

9

Santa Cruz Basilica

Cochin(Kochi)

Mother Mary

1984

10

Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

Calcutta(Kolkatha)

Mother Mary

1988

11

Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores

Trichur

Mother Mary

1992

12

Poondi Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes

Poondi,near Thanjavur

Mother Mary

1999

13

Basilica of the Divine Motherhood

Ranchi

Mother Mary

2004

14

Vallarpadam Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom

Vypin Island, Cochin

Mother Mary

2004

15

Basilica of the Holy Redeemer

Tiruchi

Jesus and Mother of Perpetual Help

2006

16

St. Mary Queen of Peace Basilica

Trivandrum

Mother Mary

2008

17

Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption

Hyderabad

Mother Mary

2008

18

Basilica of St. George

Edapally,Cochin

Mother Mary

2009

19

St. Andrew’s Basilica

Arthunkal,Alleppy

Jesus Christ

2010

20

Sacred Heart of Jesus Basilica

Pondicherry

Jesus Christ

2011

21

Basilica of Our Lady of Snows

Pallippuram, Ernakulam

Mother Mary

2012

22

Basilica of St. Lawrence

Attur-Karkala

St. Lawrence   

2016

 


Basilica of Our Lady of Mount, Bandra, Mumbai

 


Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicerry

 


Bom Jesus Basilica, Goa

 


Basilicca of Our Lady of Good Health, Velankanni

 


San Thome Basilica, Chennai

 


St. Mary’s Basilica, Shivajinagar, Bangalore

 

Out of  22 Minor Basilicas in India, 18 are dedicated to Mother Mary, two to Jesus Christ, one to Infant  Jesus and the recent one to St. Lawrence.


(From various sources)

 

 

Comments on this Article
Maurice Menezes, Belle/Udupi Tue, July-26-2016, 3:27
Hearty congratulations to Bishop Gerald Lobo for initiating proposal of minor basilica and achieving quick acceptance. Appreciate Dr Eugene DSouza for his enlightening article in Belle vision with details of Major and minor basilicas. Congratulations to Parishioners/devotees of St Lawrence Church and all Catholic faithful on this great honour bestowed by Pope. St Lawrence Pray for us.
Benedict Noronha, Udupi/India Sun, July-24-2016, 4:13
A great explosion of news about Basilicas in wake of the Blessing and dedication of St. Lawrence Church Attur, Karkal. Dr Eugene has done well and belle vision has contributed in an appreiative manner to the viewers. Thanks to the author and to the Belle vision media. May St Lawence bless and enable them to give more information relating to the same in the days to come.
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Sat, July-23-2016, 12:20
Thanks Dr. Eugene. Nicely complied article and lot of information! St. Lawrence pray for us.
Juliana, Moodubelle / Mira Road Sat, July-23-2016, 11:54
Dr. Eugene, God Bless You for sharing this beautiful article. St. Lawrance Pray for us.
Lucy Rodrigues, Moodubelle/Andheri Fri, July-22-2016, 12:12
It is really a great news for all the devotees of our patron St.Lawrence. Thank you so much for your article. St. Lawrence, pray for us.
Sam Pamboor, Kurdai,Pamboor/kuwait Fri, July-22-2016, 12:02
St.Lawrence , Pray for us .
Akil Vijay Dsouza, Moodubelle/Bangalore Thu, July-21-2016, 12:54
Excellent compilation with relevant pics. Thank you Dr. Eugene Dsouza. It is indeed a moment of great pride to all the devotees of our patron St. Lawrence. May god bless us all through the divine intercession of our patron St. Lawrence.
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