Olean church honored with title of “basilica” by Pope Francis

OLEAN, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Diocese of Buffalo has received a special honor as a church in Olean was named the third local “minor” basilica.

St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean was honored with the title “basilica” by Pope Francis. The decree was signed on Feb. 14.

This was the ninth time in Pope Francis’ papacy that he has honored a United States site with the title. In all, 83 sites in the U.S. have the title.

“I was absolutely delighted,” Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, said. “It puts this church into a new and unique relationship with the Holy See and the Holy Father. It will have symbols that remind anyone who goes in there that this has a certain significance with the pope. To qualify, there has to be significant history, beautiful art and architecture and current vitality in the life of the parish and its ministries.”

The church was built in 1915. The other two “minor” basilicas in the Diocese of Buffalo are Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica in Lackawanna and Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston.

The only “major” Basilicas exist in Rome.

“This historic designation is the fulfillment of a dream for Father Edward Rengel who built our church more than a 100 years ago.  He left clues of his dream in the very edifice,” Very Reverend Gregory Dobson, VF, pastor of St. Mary of the Angels, said.

The church’s new name will be The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.

MORE | Find more information on the church here.

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