DETROIT — A Detroit church has been declared a basilica by Pope Francis, a rare honor for a Catholic parish in the U.S., officials announced Sunday.

Ste. Anne Church is one of only 86 churches in the United States, including three in Michigan, to carry the title of Minor Basilica, the Archdiocese of Detroit said.

“In celebrating this honor, we embrace our added responsibility as a basilica to increase our efforts to serve as a welcoming place of prayer and spiritual renewal for all who visit,” said Msgr. Charles Kosanke, the pastor.

“We pray especially for the intercession of Ste. Anne, patroness of Detroit and our parish, that she may become a special source of wisdom and inspiration for the faithful of the archdiocese and beyond.”

Ste. Anne parish, near the Detroit River, began in 1701 and is the second-oldest continuously operating Catholic parish in the U.S., with 575 families, the archdiocese said. The current church was built in 1886.

“To demonstrate it met criteria for becoming a Minor Basilica, Ste. Anne extensively documented its heightened liturgical activity and its architectural stature. … It contains many artifacts from the so-called stone church, the church building that preceded the present structure,” the archdiocese said.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron will celebrate the designation at a Mass on April 26.

“As our founding parish, Ste. Anne was among the first fruits of a new missionary diocese,” Vigneron said in a statement.

“In the church’s designation as a basilica, it will stand as a profound reminder to all who visit of our continuing mission to unleash the Gospel in our communities. We in the Archdiocese of Detroit are truly blessed by the Holy Father’s recognition of its historic significance to the city of Detroit and its importance to the liturgical life of the entire archdiocese,” the archbishop continued.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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