Pope Benedict XVI Elevates Brooklyn Church To Minor Basilica-This Saturday

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to Mark Occasion on Saturday, Dec. 8th with Pontifical Mass

On Nov. 19th, the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, was informed by Pope Benedict XVI of the decision to designate Regina Pacis Church, 1230 65th Street, Brooklyn, a minor basilica.

This Saturday, Dec. 8th, Bishop DiMarzio will preside at a Solemn Mass to mark the momentous occasion at 2:30 p.m. During the Eucharistic celebration, the proclamation of the Decree granting the title of “Minor Basilica” to Regina Pacis will be read and the blessing of the Tintinnabulum and Papal Ombrellino will take place.

“It is with great joy that we received the news Regina Pacis is recognized with this honor,” said Bishop DiMarzio.

Of the approximately 19,000 Catholic Churches in the United States, now only 75 have been chosen as basilicas.

“The designation of Minor Basilica is a huge honor bestowed upon our Church building because of its beauty, historic and cultural importance, and its continued ability to attract people to Christ through their prayer and admiration,” said Msgr. Ronald Marino, pastor of St. Rosalia-Regina Pacis parish. “It is obviously a tribute to the many Italian immigrants and their families who generously helped to build it in 1949 to 1951.”

Last year, Bishop DiMarzio submitted a petition to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Vatican, requesting the honor of minor basilica for Regina Pacis. The request also required approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Minor Basilica” is a title of honor conferred by the Holy Father on a church of great architectural, historic and spiritual importance. It may be a cathedral, a parish church or a shrine. These exceptional churches serve as an important center for the entire community of faith in demonstrating and living out the rich values of the Gospel. This honor signifies Regina Pacis’ particular link with the Roman Church and the Supreme Pontiff and will be demonstrated by the celebration of specific feasts in a special way that are linked to the papal office, including the Feast of the Chair of Peter (February 22nd), the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29th) and the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.


Churches honored with the title basilica are of two ranks, major and minor. There are only four major basilicas, all of which are in Rome: The Lateran Basilica of Saint John (The Cathedral Church of Rome), the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter, the Liberian Basilica of Saint Mary Major and the Ostian Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls. There are only 74 minor basilicas in the United States.

The papal symbol will be exhibited on banners and furnishings and on the seal of the new basilica’s coat of arms. Also, the faithful who devoutly visit the basilica and participate in any sacred rite or at least recite the Lord’s Prayer and the profession of faith may obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Supreme Pontiff).

“This magnificent house of God is a precious heritage handed down to our current and future generation of parishioners by the founding community, who had the faith, foresight and dedication to fulfill a worthy promise made,” said Msgr. Marino. “Thanks to our predecessors’ great example and inspiration, our present parish family continues the tradition with their own resolve, prayers, commitment and support, in maintaining this shrine dedicated to Mary our Mother.”

Considered the “Mother Church of Italian Immigrants,” Regina Pacis was built through the sacrifice and generosity of an earlier generation as a testament of their devotion to Mary, Queen of Peace, and their faith in the Lord. It was erected as a result of a solemn vow for Peace in the World at a time when the world had been ravaged by two World Wars. Ground was broken for the building on October 3, 1948. The church was dedicated and first opened on August 15, 1951.

It maintains great relevance for the large Italian community in New York City. Presently, it is also home to growing Chinese and Hispanic populations.