December 4, 2023
Roanoke Catholic Community Celebrates Historic Elevation of Parish to Minor Basilica
Basilica of Saint Andrew celebrates its official designation; Bishop Knestout blesses Basilica markers
ROANOKE, Va. – As the Roman Catholic Church entered the Advent Season, the Catholic faithful of Roanoke gathered, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, to celebrate the blessing and recognition of the parish as a minor basilica by the Vatican. After receiving special approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Sept. 6, 2023, Bishop Barry C. Knestout returned to Roanoke to officially bless the insignia and signs representing a basilica and its connection to the Holy See. A Mass was celebrated with more than 400 Catholics in attendance.
“St. Andrew Basilica is a beacon of prayer and faith in the Roanoke Valley. We can come and see where Jesus lives, hear his words, and find the answers to our deepest spiritual longings and needs,” said Bishop Knestout. “As a former architect, I appreciate the beauty and dignity of this space as it has become a place of pilgrimage for Catholics and non-Catholics who visit the city. May God continue to bless this parish community and may this new basilica continue to be a light to all who visit.”
The Basilica of St. Andrew becomes the 93rd basilica in the United States. With this designation, the Diocese of Richmond has two minor basilicas and a total of three in Virginia. The other basilica is the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, which received the elevation in 1991. The third basilica is located in the Diocese of Arlington.
In seeking designation as a minor basilica, a parish needs to demonstrate uniqueness in its architecture, history or pastoral outreach. St. Andrew Church has strong features in each of those areas. St. Andrew’s Catholic Church was first established in 1882. The newly designated basilica sits on one of the highest hills in Roanoke and overlooks the city.
“We are greatly honored by this distinction. There are too many people to acknowledge but a heartfelt thanks to all the parishioners and staff at the Basilica of St. Andrew whose prayerful support and faithful service provided over all these years is what has made the church worthy of this distinction,” said the Rector of the Basilica of St. Andrew, Fr. Kevin Segerblom. “A building is just a building without a strong community of faith. So, I pray that God may continue to bless us and use this community and basilica to bring more people to Christ, just as St. Andrew did.”
During the Mass, the official Vatican decree was read and the physical marks of the basilica were blessed. The Basilica of Saint Andrew currently has more than 1,500 registered families and two years ago completed a restoration of its interior and exterior. More information about the basilica, its symbols, and this special designation can be found on the parish’s website.
For media inquiries, contact Claire Bebermeyer, communications specialist, at [email protected].