Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame

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For other Basilicas of the same name, see Basilica of the Sacred Heart (disambiguation).
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart.JPG
The exterior of the Basilica seen by Main Quad
Basic information
Location Notre Dame, Indiana, United States
Affiliation Catholic
Year consecrated 1888
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Basilica
Status Active
Leadership Rev. Peter D. Rocca, C.S.C., Rector
Architectural description
Architect(s) Edward Sorin, Alexis Granger
Architectural type Cathedral
Architectural style Neo-Gothic
Direction of façade South
Groundbreaking 1870
Completed 1888
Capacity 1,000
Length 275 feet (84 m)
Width 114 feet (35 m)
Height (max) 218 feet (66 m)
Materials Brick, limestone

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, is a Roman Catholic church on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, also serving as the mother church of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States. The neo-gothic church has 44 large stained glass windows and murals completed over a 17-year period by the Vatican painter Luigi Gregori. The basilica bell tower is 218 feet (66 m) high, making it the tallest University chapel in America.

It is consistently ranked among the most beautiful university churches in the country and around the world.[1][2][3][4]


The mural "The Exaltation of the Holy Cross" painted by Luigi Gregori adorns the ceiling of the basilica's Lady Chapel.

The current edifice was preceded by a smaller structure erected in 1848 by Father Edward Sorin, CSC, the founder of the University of Notre Dame. The current neo-gothic church was begun in 1870 and consecrated by Bishop Joseph Gregory Dwenger on August 15, 1888. In 1968, the church was renovated with the intention of bringing it in line with the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, although some claim that renovations of this type were not mandated by the Council. The church again received a renovation 20 years later executed by Conrad Schmitt Studios. The conservation and restoration of the historic stained glass windows, created in Le Mans, France, was one of the studio's largest single projects, with 116 windows and over 1,200 panels of glass. On January 17, 1992, Pope John Paul II raised the Church of the Sacred Heart to the status of basilica. This status helps make it a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists to the site, who number around 50,000 per year. At one time, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, was rector of the basilica, before he became head of the religious community there and later auxiliary bishop and vicar general of the diocese. Under his tenure, many strides and revisions were made and the church was elevated to a basilica.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame.JPG
Basilica of the Sacred Heart in the winter


Basilica Wedding

The basilica is the main liturgical center for the university community. Mass is held twice daily while the university is in session and once daily during breaks. Each weekend there are three Sunday masses celebrated for students, faculty, staff and community members. The basilica is a popular place for weddings of Notre Dame alumni, hosting several weddings each Saturday that the Fighting Irish do not have a home football game. The basilica has also been the site of final professions and ordination masses for the Congregation of Holy Cross, as well as funerals for the religious community and for alumni.

Each Sunday evening the basilica holds Solemn Vespers and a special service during Advent, known as Lessons and Carols. Stations of the Cross is celebrated each Friday during the season of Lent. At other times throughout the year, the basilica hosts special liturgies of all kinds. The Paschal Triduum is celebrated every Easter and it lasts from Holy Thursday with the celebration of the Last Supper until Easter Sunday with Vespers. These celebrations are very popular among students and local inhabitants and Easter liturgies are always very crowded.

Located in the Crypt Church (basement level) of the basilica is Sacred Heart Parish.


Since 2002, Sunday masses from the basilica have been broadcast nationwide. Special care is taken to ensure that broadcasting equipment captures the beauty of the mass without impacting the rite. Currently, the 10:00 A.M. mass is broadcast on CatholicTV, while the 11:45 A.M. mass is broadcast online at and through iTunes.


  1. ^ "The 30 Most Beautiful College Cathedrals". Best College Reviews. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "America's Most Beautiful College Chapels Make University Tours A Religious Experience". Huntington Post. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "31 Insanely Beautiful Colleges You Can Get Married At". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Nguyen, Vi-An. "25 Insanely Beautiful College Chapels". XO Group Inc. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame at Wikimedia Commons

41°42′8.23″N 86°14′22.92″W / 41.7022861°N 86.2397000°W / 41.7022861; -86.2397000Coordinates: 41°42′8.23″N 86°14′22.92″W / 41.7022861°N 86.2397000°W / 41.7022861; -86.2397000