St. John the Baptist Church in Canton has been granted the title of Minor Basilica by the Holy See. In a Decree granting the title of Minor Basilica, sent to Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., Bishop of Youngstown, on June 19, 2012, the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments said in part, “Such honorific title is intended to strengthen the relation of this important church with the Chair of Peter and to make it an ideal center of special liturgical and pastoral ministry in the Diocese.”
The Norms for Granting the Title of Minor Basilica explain: “Among the churches of any diocese the cathedral church holds the first place and the greatest dignity….Next there are the parishes churches, which are the homes of the various communities of the diocese. In addition, there are shrines to which the Christian faithful of the diocese or of other local Churches go on pilgrimage. Among these churches and others of different categories are found some that have particular importance for liturgical and pastoral life. These may be honored by the Supreme Pontiff with the title of minor basilica, thereby signifying their particular link with the Roman Church and the Supreme Pontiff.”
To be considered as a minor basilica, a church must supply many documents, including the petition of the bishop, brochures or reports concerning the origin, history and religious activity of the church, photos illustrating the exterior and interior form of the church, and information about the church as requested in a questionnaire.
Bishop Murry will celebrate a special Mass to acknowledge the elevation of St. John the Baptist as a minor basilica on November 25, 2012 at the church.