Regina Pacis Designated as A Basilica

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was informed Nov. 19 by Pope Benedict XVI of the decision to designate Regina Pacis Church, 1230 65th St., Bensonhurst, a minor basilica. Last year, Bishop DiMarzio submitted a petition to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Vatican, requesting the honor.

“This Thanksgiving, the Diocese of Brooklyn, in the midst of recovering from a devastating hurricane, gives thanks to Almighty God that Regina Pacis is the third church to be named a basilica in our great Diocese here in Brooklyn and Queens, and one of only 74 in the United States,” said Bishop DiMarzio.

Bishop DiMarzio will preside at a Solemn Mass to mark the occasion on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. During the Mass, the Decree granting the title of “Minor Basilica” will be read and the blessing of the Tintinnabulum and Papal Ombrellino will take place.

“Minor Basilica” is a title of honor conferred by the Holy Father on a church of great architectural, historic and spiritual importance. It may be a cathedral, a parish church or a shrine. This honor signifies Regina Pacis’ particular link with the Roman Church and the Supreme Pontiff and will be demonstrated by the celebration of specific feasts in a special way that are linked to the papal office, including the Feast of the Chair of Peter (Feb. 22), the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29) and the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Churches honored as basilicas are of two ranks, major and minor. There are only four major basilicas, all of which are in Rome: The Lateran Basilica of St. John (The Cathedral Church of Rome), the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter, the Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major and the Ostian Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls. There are 74 minor basilicas in the U.S.

The papal symbol will be exhibited on banners and furnishings and on the seal of the new basilica’s coat of arms. Also, the faithful who devoutly visit and participate in any sacred rite or at least recite the Lord’s Prayer and the profession of faith may obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions..

“This magnificent house of God is a precious heritage handed down to our current and future generation of parishioners by the founding community, who had the faith, foresight and dedication to fulfill a worthy promise made,” said Msgr. Ronald Marino, pastor. “Thanks to our predecessors’ great example and inspiration, our present parish family continues the tradition with their own resolve, prayers, commitment and support, in maintaining this shrine dedicated to Mary our Mother.”

Considered the “Mother Church of Italian Immigrants,” Regina Pacis was built through the sacrifice and generosity of an earlier generation as a testament of their devotion to Mary, Queen of Peace, and their faith in the Lord. It was erected as a result of a solemn vow for Peace in the World at a time when the world had been ravaged by two World Wars. Ground was broken for the building on Oct. 3, 1948. The church was dedicated and first opened on Aug. 15, 1951.

It maintains great relevance for the large Italian community in N.Y.C. Presently, it is also home to growing Chinese and Hispanic populations.