- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - The pope has elevated a historic church in suburban Detroit with a towering stone image of Jesus on the cross to the status of minor basilica, the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has announced.

Pope Francis awarded the honor to the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, the 1.3 million-member archdiocese said Saturday.

The title of minor basilica “is given to churches around the world to denote a particular importance in liturgical and pastoral life and a closer relationship with the pope,” the archdiocese said in a statement. Only churches in Rome hold the title major basilica.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron (VIHG-‘ner-on) said he requested the status change last year. A celebratory Mass marking the award is scheduled April 22 at the church.

The Shrine of the Little Flower is one of 82 minor basilicas in the U.S. The other one in Michigan is the Basilica of St. Adalbert in Grand Rapids.

The church was founded in 1926 and is named for St. Therese of Lisieux. The French nun known as the “Little Flower” became a saint in 1925. The parish comprises about 3,500 families and operates an elementary and high school. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1998 made it one of the first five U.S. churches in the country given the national shrine designation.

The limestone art deco-style tower includes a 28-foot crucifix and stands next to the copper-roofed sanctuary with an octagonal stone-faced interior.

It was constructed in two stages in 1931 and 1936 under the leadership the Rev. Charles Coughlin, a broadcaster who used the tower for his radio ministry in the 1930s. Coughlin, who promoted anti-Semitic views and a sharply criticized President Franklin Roosevelt, was forced off the air as America mobilized against the rise of Nazism in Europe, but he remained head of the parish until 1966.

Meanwhile, the church he founded became known as a center for ecumenical outreach, with close ties to metropolitan Detroit’s Jewish community.



Details about award: https://bit.ly/1yq0oq4


Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide