The St. Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans' most notable landmarks. This venerable building, its triple steeples towering above its historic neighbors, the Cabildo and the Presbytere - looks down benignly on the green of the Square and General Andrew Jackson on his bronze horse and on the block-long Pontalba Buildings with their lacy ironwork galleries. Truly, this is the heart of old New Orleans.

Since 1727 New Orleanians have worshipped in churches on this site. Half a dozen years earlier, the French engineer, Adrien De Pauger, who arrived in the newly founded city on March 29, 1721, designated this site for a church in conformity with the plan of the Engineer-in-Chief of Louisiana, LeBlond de la Tour, who was at the capital, Biloxi.



The new parish church, dedicated to Louis IX, sainted King of France, was thus perhaps the first building in New Orleans of "brick between posts" (bnquete entre poteaux) construction, an effective method of building that continued to be used in Louisiana until at least the middle of the nineteenth century. De Pauger, unfortunately, died on June 21, 1726, before his church was completed. In his will he requested that he be buried within the unfinished building, a request presumably granted.

During the six decades that the church stood, there worshipped within its walls French Governors Perier, Bienville, Vaudreuil and Kerlerec and Spanish Governors Unzaga, Galvez and Miro. In this first little church were baptized the children of the colonists and the children of the slaves. Here were married the lowly and the highborn, and through its doors were borne the mortal remains of the faithful for the burial rites of Holy Mother Church on the last journey to the little cemetery on St. Peter





  St. Louis Cathedral
is an official Basilica.


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On December 9, 1964 Pope Paul III designated the St. Louis Cathedral as a Basilica. The process of becoming a Basilica was not to be completed until 33 years later.  A Basilica is required to have the Papal symbols of the Canopeum and Tintinnabulum (canopy and bell).

On December 9, 1997 Archbishop Shulte held a special mass to receive the Basilica symbols. These papal symbols were given in memory of Harold and Kathryn Doley

The Official cerimony designating St Louis Cathedral a Basilica ..December 9th 1997


the Canopeum (Canopy)

Tintinnabulum (canopy and bell).



The Latin word basilica (derived from Greek, Basilikè Stoá, Royal Stoa, the tribunal chamber of a king), was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas begin to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.

Basilicas were also used for religious purposes. The remains of a large subterranean Neopythagorean basilica dating from the first century were found near the Porta Maggiore in Rome in 1915; the stuccoes on the interior vaulting have survived, though their exact interpretation remains a matter for debate. The ground-plan of Christian basilicas in the 4th century was similar to that of this Neopythagorean basilica, which had three naves, and an apse.

After the Roman Empire became officially Christian, the term came by extension specifically to refer to a large and important church that has been given special ceremonial rites by the Pope. Thus the word retains two senses today, one architectural and the other ecclesiastical.

Roman Catholic churches designated as basilicas

The Early Christian purpose-built basilica was the cathedral basilica of the bishop, on the model of the semi-public secular basilicas, and its growth in size and importance signaled the gradual transfer of civic power into episcopal hands, underway in the fifth century. Basilicas in this sense are divided into classes, the major ("greater"), and the minor basilicas, i.e., three other papal and several pontifical minor basilicas in Italy, and over 1,400 lesser basilicas on all continents.

As of December 31, 2007, there were 1,524 basilicas

(well up from 1,476 in March 26, 2006), of which the majority are in Europe

(532 in Italy alone, including all those of elevated status; 167 in France; 105 in Poland; 101 in Spain; 69 in Germany; 29 in Austria; 26 in Belgium; 15 in the Czech Republic; 13 in Hungary; 12 in Switzerland; 20 in the Netherlands; 8 on Malta; 7 each in Croatia and Slovakia; 6 each in Portugal and Slovenia; 5 in Lithuania; and fewer in many other countries), many in the Americas (62 in the United States; 50 in Brazil; 43 in Argentina; 27 in Mexico; 25 in Colombia; 21 in Canada; 14 in Venezuela; 12 in Peru; 9 in Chile; 8 in Bolivia; 5 in Uruguay; 4 in El Salvador and smaller numbers elsewhere), and fewer in Asia (15 in India; 12 in the Philippines; nine in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine); and smaller numbers

elsewhere), 16 in Africa (several countries have one or two) and Australasia (five in Australia and one in Guam) and five (or six depending on definition) in New Zealand.





Roman Catholic churches designated as basilicas

The privileges attached to the status of basilica, which is conferred by papal brief, include a certain precedence before other churches, the right of the conopaeum (a baldachin resembling an umbrella; also called umbraculum, ombrellino, papilio, sinicchio, etc.) and the bell (tintinnabulum), which are carried side by side in procession at the head of the clergy on state occasions, and the cappa magna which is worn by the canons or secular members of the collegiate chapter when assisting at the Divine Office.[citation needed] In the case of major basilicas these umbraculae are made of cloth of gold and red velvet, while those of minor basilicas are made of yellow and red silk—the colors traditionally associated with both the Papal See and the city of Rome.

Churches designated as papal basilicas, in particular, possess a papal throne and a papal high altar from which no one may celebrate Mass without the pope's permission.

Numerous basilicas are notable shrines, often even receiving significant pilgrimages, especially among the many that were built above a confessio or the burial place of a martyr, although now a term usually designating a space sunk lower than the present floor level before the high altar, which in the case of the Vatican and Lateran basilicas offer more immediate access to the burial places of their respective apostles and in the case of the Liberian basilica enshrines the relics of the manger of Bethlehem.




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