Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary, Wilmington, NC

Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary, 412 Ann Street, Wilmington, NC, United States

Website of the Sanctuary

910-762-5491

The Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary Architecture

Begun in 1909 and completed in 1911, the Spanish Baroque style building is exceptional in its construction and design. The plan is that of a Greek cross, with a high dome at the crossing, and barrel vaults above the transepts and sanctuary.

In 2013 the shrine was designated as a Minor Basilica with a title Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary.

Twin towers with domed cupolas flank a wide gabled entrance on the front façade. The building has a rusticated granite base; the central dome and barrel vaults above the transom have a copper finish, and the small crosses surmount the roofs of the domed cupolas. Constructed without nails, steel or wood beams, the building makes use of brick and tile in a functional manner. See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in North America

Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary,

Side entrances to the church were added in the 1950’s and the original entrance door was cut down to allow for the installation of a stained glass window – the Last Supper. Further renovations took place in 1988, under the direction of the then pastor, Father Thomas Hadden. Gerald Allen & Associates, New York, NY were the consulting architects.

Changes included repair and cleaning of the interior masonry, removal of the altar rail, increasing the height of the sanctuary floor and installation of new marble floors tiles. The pews were refinished and slate floors were laid in the aisles. The present chandeliers were installed. A new acoustic system was added and the organ was repaired, renovated and enlarged. See top 15 Catholic shrines in the world

Mass times

Saturday

  • 5:30 pm (English)
  • 7:00 pm (Spanish)

Sunday

  • 8:00 am (English)
  • 9:30 am (English)
  • 11:00 am (English)
  • 12:30 pm (Spanish)

Daily Mass

  • Mon., Tues., Thu.7:30 am

History

St. Mary Church and Parish has long been a fixture in Wilmington. 

The parish history started at the beginning of the nineteenth century when Bishop John England (1786-1842) from Charleston made regular visits to Wilmington celebrating Mass in private homes and sometimes in Protestant churches to a small group of believers. On New Year’s Day 1845 England’s successor, Ignatius Aloysius Reynolds founded the official parish.

Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary,

The community flourished and Father Thomas Murphy (1806-1855) was appointed the first full-time priest in 1845. Two years later he organized construction of the Gothic Revival style Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle at 208 Dock Street.

In 1868, James Gibbons (1834-1921), took up residence as Vicar-Apostolic of North Carolina and the church was designated a Pro-cathedral. He brought the Sisters of Mercy to Wilmington in 1869.

Their first convent was at the corner of 2nd and Nun Streets. He bought property on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ann Street. A convent and school were built on the property. They were later torn down to make was for the new church.

In the 1890’s, Msgr. Christopher Dennen (1855-1939) pastor of Saint Thomas Church, encouraged the formation of a new parish. Ground was broken for the building at South Fifth Street and Ann on the twentieth of May, 1908. Abbot Leo Michael Haid (1849-1924) O.S.B., Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina, laid the corner stone. The first service was held on the seventeenth of December, 1911. Cardinal James Gibbons dedicated the building as Saint Mary Pro-Cathedral on the Twelfth of April, 1912. When the Diocese of Raleigh was created in 1924, the Pro-Cathedral was renamed the Saint Mary Church.

Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary,

Mother Catherine Drexel, Mother Superior of the Blessed Sacrament Sisters in Philadelphia, gave money to but Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in 1912. A school was established nearby and Saint Thomas Church became the first church for Wilmington’s black Catholic community.

In 1916, the Josephite fathers took over the church and remained there until 1966 when a fire destroyed the church causing it to close. Today, the restored structure is known as Saint Thomas Preservation Hall of the Arts.

Source: Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary

Saturday

  • 5:30 pm (English)
  • 7:00 pm (Spanish)

Sunday

  • 8:00 am (English)
  • 9:30 am (English)
  • 11:00 am (English)
  • 12:30 pm (Spanish)

Daily Mass

  • Mon., Tues., Thu.7:30 am

History

St. Mary Church and Parish has long been a fixture in Wilmington. 

The parish history started at the beginning of the nineteenth century when Bishop John England (1786-1842) from Charleston made regular visits to Wilmington celebrating Mass in private homes and sometimes in Protestant churches to a small group of believers. On New Year’s Day 1845 England’s successor, Ignatius Aloysius Reynolds founded the official parish.

Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary,

The community flourished and Father Thomas Murphy (1806-1855) was appointed the first full-time priest in 1845. Two years later he organized construction of the Gothic Revival style Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle at 208 Dock Street.

In 1868, James Gibbons (1834-1921), took up residence as Vicar-Apostolic of North Carolina and the church was designated a Pro-cathedral. He brought the Sisters of Mercy to Wilmington in 1869.

Their first convent was at the corner of 2nd and Nun Streets. He bought property on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ann Street. A convent and school were built on the property. They were later torn down to make was for the new church.

In the 1890’s, Msgr. Christopher Dennen (1855-1939) pastor of Saint Thomas Church, encouraged the formation of a new parish. Ground was broken for the building at South Fifth Street and Ann on the twentieth of May, 1908. Abbot Leo Michael Haid (1849-1924) O.S.B., Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina, laid the corner stone. The first service was held on the seventeenth of December, 1911. Cardinal James Gibbons dedicated the building as Saint Mary Pro-Cathedral on the Twelfth of April, 1912. When the Diocese of Raleigh was created in 1924, the Pro-Cathedral was renamed the Saint Mary Church.

Posted in North America and United States