Bad Times in Ba'more
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Theme: Bastion of Holiness
Background and History
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called the Baltimore Basilica, was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the United States, and was among the first major religious buildings constructed in the nation after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. As a co-cathedral, it is one of the seats of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally it is a parish church (ranked minor basilica) and national shrine. It is considered the masterpiece of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the “Father of American Architecture”, America’s first professionally trained architect and Thomas Jefferson’s Architect of the U.S. Capitol. The Cathedral is a monumental neoclassical-style building designed in conformity to a Latin cross basilica plan — a departure on Latrobe’s part from previous American church architecture, but in keeping with longstanding European traditions of cathedral design. The plan unites two distinct elements: a longitudinal axis and a domed space. In 1937, Pope Pius XI raised the Cathedral to the rank of a Minor Basilica.
Many people deemed holy by the Catholic Church are associated with the Basilica, including Mother Mary Lange, Foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first order for Catholic nuns of African-American descent; Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, who was ordained at the Basilica in 1877 by Archbishop James Gibbons; St. John Neumann, who is credited with founding America’s Catholic School System.