But the question remains, does St. Joseph Church have what it takes to be "The Basilica of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary"?
This is what the Vatican tells us is necessary in black print. The blue print tells you what we have:
I. CONDITIONS FOR OBTAINING THE TITLE MINOR BASILICA1. A church for which the title of basilica is proposed must have been dedicated to God by a liturgical rite and must stand out as a center of active and pastoral liturgy, especially through celebrations of the Most Holy Eucharist, of penance, and of the other sacraments, which celebrations set an example for others on account of their preparation and realization according to liturgical norms and with the active participation of the people of God.
Certainly this want to be basilica does all of this. It was dedicated to God and stands as a center of active and pastoral liturgy. We celebrate both forms of the one Latin Rite and encourage active participation in both. Confessions are celebrated daily, Monday through Saturday and during Lent on Sunday prior to the morning Masses. We have the Communal celebration of the Sacrament of Penance during Advent and Lent. We strive to set an example for liturgical excellence and active participation and videos of our more solemn Masses have been seen around the world.
2. To further the possibility of truly carrying out worthy and exemplary celebrations, the aforesaid church should be of an appropriate size and with a sufficiently large sanctuary. The various elements required for the liturgical celebration (altar, ambo [lectern], celebrant's chair) must be placed according to the requirements of the restored liturgy (cf. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 288-318).
The want-to-be Basilica of Saint Joseph is of appropriate size, seating close to 700 and the sanctuary is sufficiently large enough having been expanded in 2005/6 for the more adequate celebration of the "restored" liturgy but not excluding the proper celebration of the Extraordinary Form Liturgy. Altar, ambo and chair are according to the requirements of the GIRM, nos. 288-318.
3. The church may enjoy a certain renown throughout the diocese, for example, because it has been constructed and dedicated to God on the occasion of some particular historical and religious event, or because the body or significant relics of a saint are reserved in it, or because some sacred image is there venerated in a special way.
The historical value or importance of the church and the worthiness of its art are also be considered.
The want-to-be Basilica of Saint Joseph has had a renown throughout the diocese, which when built was the entire state of Georgia. Its imposing architecture, both inside and out, even with a bit of whimsical creativity is a landmark and place of pilgrimage for visitors from around the world. The old high altar contains the relics of a saint and the newer free-standing Cararra marble altar contains the relics of Saint Francis Xavier in honor of the Jesuits who built this church. The images of the Most Sacred Heat of Jesus as well as Our Lady are venerated here with great devotion. The Miraculous Medal Novena is prayed each Monday before our Lady's Chapel.
The church also hosts ecumenical and inter-faith services for the community.
4. So that, as the liturgical year progresses, the celebrations of the various seasons may be carried out in a praiseworthy manner, a fitting number of priests is necessary; they are to be assigned to the liturgical and pastoral care of the church, especially for the celebration of the Eucharist and penance (there should also be an appropriate number of confessors who at stated hours are available to the faithful).
In addition, a sufficient number of ministers is required as well as an adequate schola cantorum, which is to encourage the participation of the faithful with sacred music and singing.
The want-to-be Basilica of Saint Joseph celebrates the liturgical year in grand style and in the most praiseworthy way. We have sufficient number of priests in the parish (three) and others are available for the Liturgical celebration of the Sacrament of Penance during the year.
Solemn Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament is each Wednesday at 5:30 PM.
We have well trained cantors and two choirs. The mixed voice choir sings every Sunday at our 9:30 AM High Mass. Our men's Schola Cantorum chants exquisite Gregorian Chant at our monthly 2:00 PM Extraordinary Form Mass. Plans are in the works to have the men's schola chant the 12:10 PM Mass each week with the last Sunday of the month being in the Extraordinary Form.
Our elementary school has a choir as well that sings as school Masses and special Masses on Sunday during the year.
As well the church hosts a Third Thursday Organ Interlude for the city, ecumenical in nature. Mercer University (a Baptist university) hosts "Lessons and Carols" during the Advent season as well as Handel's Messiah.
Here are videos of liturgies from the want-to-be Basilica of Saint Joseph seen around the world!