Pope Benedict XVI recently bestowed the designation of basilica on the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church, an honor that carries certain privileges, including a name change reflecting the Southampton Village church’s new status.
Monsignor Jeffrey Madley, the pastor of the Hill Street parish, said it will become the first basilica in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which includes 133 Catholic churches in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The church will be renamed the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, following a special celebration likely to be held in the spring, according to Monsignor Madley, who was granted the papal-bestowed title of monsignor around this time last year. The papal coat of arms will be displayed over the church’s front door, and the papal canopy—used for papal processions—will be placed on display inside the church, as will a special bell that is traditionally rung before a papal visit.
“It’s an honor for the community and the parish and the people who took care of this church for over 100 years and kept it in good shape” the priest said, explaining that the church earned this distinction because of its historical significance. It was built in 1907 using castaway marble blocks from the New York Public Library, he noted.
Sacred Hearts will become the 70th minor basilica in the United States, the priest said. Minor basilicas are those Catholic churches outside Rome that have been granted this honor. There are about 2,000 basilicas worldwide, he said.
Bishop William Murphy of the diocese had decided to apply for the honor, Monsignor Madley said.
Bishop Murphy informed Monsignor Madley of the news on Friday, and the bishop announced the news to parishioners during the 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses on Sunday.