The Basilica of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Atlanta! Congratulations!!!!!
The "Basilica" of the Most Holy Trinity, Augusta, GA
"Basilica" of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Macon
Sacred Heart Church in downtown Atlanta has been named a minor basilica! Congratulations to the pastor, the parish, the Archbishop who supported the cause, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who approved it and the Vatican which named it. You can read about it by pressing here!
When I was pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in downtown Augusta,(1991-2004) which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, I wanted to have our "new" Church with construction begun in 1857 and completed and paid for in 1863 during the height of the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression, whichever you prefer, named a minor basilica. The parish, which was very eager and willing to do all the hard work to present to the USCCB was thwarted in its grand plans. I won't go into the sad details.
The Second Bishop of Savannah, Bishop John Barry, who was pastor of the parish for more than 30 years and named the Bishop of Savannah and later laid the cornerstone for the new Church, but died before it was completed, had hoped to make the Church of the Most Holy Trinity the new Cathedral of the Diocese since Savannah was a hotbed for yellow fever, misery and death! His plans did not come to fruition. He is interred in an above ground tomb in the crypt of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity with about 12 other priests.
Compared to Sacred Heart Basilica, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity is older, grander and with a more colorful history spanning being a part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore at its founding, then later the Diocese of Charleston and finally the Diocese of Savannah. It could have been the Cathedral of the Diocese of Augusta! So sad!
And while I'm writing, St. Joseph Church in Macon is a good candidate for "basilicaship" too, although its history is not as storied as the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. It's architecture is grander and certainly significant for the area in which it was built. Maybe one day there will be support for two basilcas, if not three, if the Cathedral in Savannah applied for it, in our diocese. Time will tell!
Maybe one day I can answer the telephone at the Basilica of Saint Joseph in Macon by simply saying, "Basilica!" Oh what a happy day that will be!
Saint Joseph Church interior
Basilica of the Sacred Heart interior
Church of the Most Holy Trinity Interior