SAVANNAH, Ga. – April 22, 2020 – His Holiness Pope Francis, through the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, recently issued a decree granting the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah the title of Minor Basilica.
This honor makes the Cathedral the first basilica in the Diocese of Savannah. Nationwide, there are just 87 churches, including 18 cathedrals, that carry this designation.
The 143-year-old Roman Catholic Cathedral will officially be named “The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.”
The Most Reverend Gregory John Hartmayer, Bishop of Savannah, and Reverend J. Gerard Schreck, Rector of the Cathedral, will hold a press conference on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 10:30 AM at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 222 E. Harris Street, Savannah.
Minor basilicas are traditionally named because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and significance as centers of worship. A basilica must “stand out as a center of active and pastoral liturgy,” according to the 1989 Vatican document Domus ecclesiae.
The bestowal of the title initiates a very particular bond between the basilica and the Holy Father. Papal symbols signifying the relationship will be installed and blessed at an inaugural Mass solemnizing the designation of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist as a basilica later this year.