Chicago Catholic church joins ranks of U.S. basilicas

Posted: Friday, January 09, 2004

CHICAGO (AP) A towering church, long the heart of Chicago's Polish Catholic community, has been designated a basilica.

St. Hyacinth Jackowa in Polish joined some 50 other U.S. churches with that title late last year upon approval from Pope John Paul II, who visited the church when he was a cardinal in Poland.

It is the third basilica in the Chicago Archdiocese and the first to be named in more than 40 years.

Vatican rules for basilicas are not hard and fast, but they tend to be large churches of importance as worship centers or as historical sites. Worshippers can gain plenary indulgences absolving them of sins by visiting basilicas on certain days.

St. Hyacinth holds 2,000 people and attracts up to 10,000 worshippers for Sunday Masses in English and Polish.

The parish was founded as a temporary chapel for about 40 Polish families in 1894. As the Polish immigrant population grew, the current building opened in 1921.

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