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Royal Oak church celebrates basilica designation with Mass of thanksgiving

National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak
Corey Seeman
Creative Commons

The National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church in Royal Oak will mark its designation as a minor basilica this week with a Mass of thanksgiving.

The Vatican granted the title last January, making the parish Michigan’s second to be named a minor basilica.

Churches must have historical, architectural or liturgical significance to receive the designation.

Parish pastor Rev. Robert Fisher said the honor is more than a new title.

"[The church] can’t look at this as a trophy to be put on a shelf, but rather an encouragement to continue, even more deeply, working at spreading the gospel,” Fisher said.

Built in the early 1930s, the church is known for its Art Deco style and massive limestone tower, the Charity Crucifixion Tower.

Fisher said the new designation is a reminder to the community of the church’s true purpose.

“Our tower is a beacon to draw people, to find out about the life of [church namesake] Saint Thérèse and more importantly, the life of Jesus Christ," said Fisher.

There are 82 churches in the U.S. with minor basilica designations.

The Basilica of St. Adalbert in Grand Rapids was granted the title in 1980.

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