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"Mesilla's historic San Albino elevated to basilica status"

This was a headline on the front page of the Las Cruces Sun-News on June 27, 2008.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez called Monsignor Getz on the Monsignor's 75th birthday, June 26th, and said, "We've got good news! We got word this morning - a fax from the Vatican approving our [San Albino's] status as a basilica."


What is a basilica? Since you're reading this online, you may refer to Wikipedia where the summary definition reads:



The Latin word basilica (derived from Greek, Basiliké Stoà, Royal Stoa), was originally used to describe a Roman public building (as in Greece, mainly a tribunal), usually located at the center of a Roman town (forum). In Hellenistic cities, public basilicas appeared in the 2nd century BC.

After the Roman Empire became officially Christian, the term came by extension 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.


You may also want to reference Fr. John Hardon's "Modern Catholic Dictionery" and you will find the following definition:



A lengthy oblong religious edifice, rectangular in shape with an apse at one end. This name was originally given to certain ancient churches in Rome, the Holy Land, and elsewhere that were converted from pagan edifices to Christian use. The width of a basilica building is never greater than one half of its length. It is divided by rows of columns into a central nave and a surrounding aisle, or ambulatory. The upper part of the nave is lighted by clerestory windows over looking the roof over the aisles. Similar lower windows light the aisle sections. The altar is placed within or before the apse arching from the nave and opening into the transept, or cross hall. At the main entrance to the basilica is the narthex, beyond which the early neophytes were not admitted. St. John Lateran, the Mother Church, is the archbasilica for the patriarch of the West, the Pope; St. Peter's for the patriarch of Constantinople; St. Paul's Outside the Walls for the patriarch of Alexandria; St. Mary Major for the patriarch of Antioch; St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, for the patriarch of Jerusalem. Each of these major basilicas has an altar exclusively for the Pope's use, and by others only with his permission. Adjoining their basilicas were the former residences of the various patriarchs when they were in Rome. St. Francis of Assisi's church is also a major basilica with a papal altar and a throne. Eleven churches in Rome and many others throughout the world have been designated by the Pope as minor basilicas, e.g., at Loreto and Padua in Italy, Lourdes in France, Lough Derg in Ireland. The clergy who serve in them enjoy a title of honor that gives them certain ceremonial rites. (Etym. Latin basilicus, royal.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life.



San Albino is designated as a "minor" basilica and is currently one of approximately 70 in the United States and one of only two in New Mexico.

You may read clippings from the local news paper, the Las Cruces Sun-News, by downloading the following files in in Adobe Reader* format:


Download 6/27/08 Las Cruces Sun-News Clipping

June 27, 2008 Las Cruces Sun-News Article

Download 6/28/08 Las Cruces Sun-News Clipping

June 28, 2008 Las Cruces Sun-News Article


You may continue to check this web site for information about dedication ceremonies and other Basilica activities for the Basilica of San Albino.

Photo shows of the Basilica of San Albino will be coming soon...look for them in the Basilica sub-menu!


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Basilica of San Albino
2070 Calle de Santiago | PO Box 26
Mesilla, NM 88046-0026
Phone: 575-526-9349 |  Fax: 575-647-1619