After many years, Brooklyn has another basilica to call its own.
Regina Pacis Church, a fixture in the community since it opened in 1951, was recently named a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated a Solemn Mass to commemorate the occasion on December 8.
During the liturgy, a proclamation declaring the churchs new title was read. The Tintinnabulum and the Papal Ombrellino, symbols of the papacy proudly displayed on the altar, were also blessed.
The mass was a beautiful, prayerful occasion, said Sr. Anne OBrien, director of the pastoral ministry. The same mass is celebrated every day of the week but the fact that the bishop came added greatness.
Regina Pacis is now one of 74 minor basilicas in the United States, and one of only three in Brooklyn. Minor basilicas have the distinction of being of great architectural, historical and social importance. The basilica, which was built by the people for the safety of soldiers during World War II, fits that category.
State Senator Marty Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and members of the Knights of Columbus were in attendance, as were those who helped build the church decades ago.
Its a blessing for the church, and a great honor, said OBrien. Hopefully, it will be a reminder of the importance of faith and of worship, where people can come for a quiet place to be away from the world.