The St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation today announced plans for a community-wide celebration on Saturday, Sept. 21, highlighted by a dome lighting ceremony to publicly unveil a new lighting system to illuminate the building’s iconic dome.
(Go Urban Spelunking with Bobby Tanzilo to the top of the dome here.)
Following the Basilica’s 4:30 p.m. Mass, the entire community is invited to gather outside of the historic building from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for an evening of fun and community featuring food, music, performance groups, kids’ activities, remarks from church, neighborhood and elected officials, and more.
"The Basilica was built in 1901 to serve as the spiritual home to Milwaukee’s large population of Polish immigrants and continues to serve as a welcoming house of worship to the neighborhood’s increasingly diverse population," Colleen Cheney-Trawiński, Executive Director of the St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation, said.
"As we’ve grown and evolved along with the surrounding Lincoln Village neighborhood, the Basilica has developed into a true Milwaukee landmark and living beacon of hope and strength for the entire community. It’s only fitting that we all come together as one, whether as worshipers or neighbors or both, to celebrate our bonds as a community and witness the spectacle of the Basilica’s beautiful dome becoming a new beacon of light radiating a sense of peace, togetherness and community over all of Milwaukee."
The Dome Lighting Ceremony is the culmination of years of work to restore and preserve the historic building’s unique structure. The most publicly visible part of the project is the installation of 26 points of light in the surrounding Lincoln Village neighborhood that will all shine on the Basilica dome at night, illuminating the massive structure for all of the city to see and creating a new, permanent beacon of light on Milwaukee’s nighttime skyline.
"For nearly 120 years the Basilica of St. Josaphat has stood as a symbol of the faith and strength of our neighborhood and community," Rev. Lawrence Zurek said. "There is a richness in the multitude of gifts we share with one another as a diverse community, and from that diversity we are able to build unity walking together the common paths of our neighborhood and our daily lives. ‘That all might be one’ is the motto of the Basilica and the theme of this special night. How fitting that on this night we come together as one community to celebrate God’s light and goodness."
In addition to the lighting of the dome, the community celebration will feature local food vendors, music, performances from local musical and arts groups, and kids’ activities. Commemorative Dome Lighting copper coins and T-shirts will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting both a fire detection system for the Basilica and new educational signage in nearby Kosciuszko Park.
For more information about The Basilica of St. Josaphat, visit thebasilicafoundation.org.