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Pope Francis bestows honor on Youngstown church

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

 Pope Francis has bestowed an honor on a Youngstown parish that is shared by only 78 other Catholic churches in the United States.

Bishop George Murry announced during the Celebration of the Feast Day Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, that the Pope has granted to their church the title of Minor Basilica.

The decree said in part, "Such honorific title 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 Diocese."

The title of Minor Basilica signifies Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church their particular link with the Roman Church and the Pontiff.

In his 1959 article, Minor Basilicas in the United States, Robert F. McNamara wrote that a church has to meet certain criteria to become a Minor Basilica.

The petition must show that the church in question is ancient, at least in a relative sense. Or if it has not the dignity of age, it must at least be truly "basilican," that is, "regal" in character. It must, of course, be a permanent church, and solemnly consecrated; and it must be large, spacious, and rich in its appointments. From a devotional standpoint, it must be in some way or other a notable religious center. If it is a shrine by reason of its possession of the body of a saint, so much the better. If it is not distinguished for its relics, it should at least be distinguished for its paintings, images, etc. The staff of the church should be large enough to permit the frequent and splendid performance of solemn rites. All this implies that it should have an ample and stable income; and, as a matter of fact, the Congregation insists that it be informed of the source of the income. In addition to satisfying the Roman authorities on these points, the bishop is requested to send along books or pamphlets containing a description of the exterior and interior of the church, together with photographs.

The other Minor Basilicas in Ohio include, Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption in Marietta, and Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Canton, which is also included in the Youngstown Diocese.

Msgr. Michael J. Cariglio, Pastor, said he is most grateful for the honor. A celebration will be announced once plans and date are established.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church was placed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings in 1976. The church building was completed in 1913. Its membership is 1100 households. The Basilica Church is part of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Anthony of Padua Parish.

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