The Vatican recognized the Miraculous Medal Shrine, located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, as the city’s second basilica, elevating its status to a minor basilica this week.
The shrine, created by the Vincentians in 1927 under the leadership of Father Joseph Skelly, is now known as the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
The Marian title is based on apparitions to St. Catherine Labouré in Paris in 1830.
The medal includes a depiction of Mary, the Mother of God, with the prayer “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” encircling her.
“It is an esteemed honor to be recognized by the Vatican as a Minor Basilica,” Father Timothy Lyons, the shrine’s rector, said in a statement. “We are both overjoyed and humbled by this recognition. This historic proclamation marks the next chapter in the Shrine’s history and recognizes the significant role it has played in the Catholic Church, the Philadelphia Archdiocese, and the Shrine community.”
According to a news release from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the elevation to a basilica grants the shrine certain privileges and responsibilities, such as the celebration of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter; the solemnity of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul; and the anniversary of the pope’s election into pastoral ministry.
Basilicas also have the authority to grant plenary indulgences, which remove all temporal consequences of one’s sin. This is distinct from a partial indulgence, which only removes part of the temporal consequences. The designation also recognizes the shrine as a historic landmark, according to the archdiocese.
“I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for bestowing this tremendous honor on the Miraculous Medal Shrine,” Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez said in a statement. “This moment is one of great joy for the entire Church in Philadelphia. The Miraculous Medal Shrine is a great gift drawing souls closer to Christ through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. I congratulate the Vincentians and all those working to sustain the Shrine and its ministry. May their work continue to bear great fruit.”
The shrine had applied for the status of basilica for several years before Pope Francis granted the recognition. The city’s only other basilica is the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, which is on the east side of Logan Square.
There are 91 other basilicas in the United States.
The shrine was the first American church to be granted the title this year; there were two churches granted the recognition of basilica last year.