FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 26, 2010
Contact: Patricia M. Chivers
Sacred Heart Church in Atlanta
Designated a Basilica
Atlanta – The title of Minor Basilica has been granted to Sacred Heart Church located in the heart of Atlanta at 353 Peachtree Street NE. This high honor came in the form of a Decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican. The designation is intended to strengthen the relation of this important Church with the Chair of Peter and to make it an ideal center of special liturgical and pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Father T. J. Meehan, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church said, “We’re very grateful to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for elevating Sacred Heart Church for this very singular honor. This year marks the 130th anniversary of our founding. We’re delighted for the recognition given to our beautiful and historic church. It’s especially an acknowledgement of the warmth, compassion, and welcoming nature of our growing parish community. We hope others will honor us additionally by visiting and worshipping with us.”
The petition for this title included an explanation of the history of the church, as well as the architecture, artistic importance and pastoral activities. The process was initiated by a letter of proposal by the pastor to the Archbishop who approved the proposal and made the request to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The petition was then sent to the Vatican.
The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, said, “I congratulate the parishioners of Sacred Heart parish who several years ago had requested that their church be designated a basilica in recognition of the historic importance of this church building. As one of the oldest parish churches in the Archdiocese, Sacred Heart links us to our religious heritage and to the many faithful Catholics who have gone before us. I congratulate them on being granted this honor and I am sure that they will receive many other expressions of congratulations from parishioners throughout the Archdiocese who have personal ties to or fond memories of our new Sacred Heart Basilica.”
The word, basilica, comes from the Greek term for “royal hall.” There are two kinds of basilicas: major basilicas, the six great Roman churches, and the minor basilicas, which are important churches in Rome and abroad which the Holy Father has honored with this title.