This Article is taken from, and can be read in full at, IN CAELO ET IN TERRA
The Church of Saint Francis-in-Bolsward,
Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, Netherlands.
Soon to become a Minor Basilica.
Illustration: IN CAELO ET IN TERRA
The Church of Saint Francis-in-Bolsward is elevated to the Dignity of a Minor Basilica per a Papal Bull, dated on 26 November 2016. Signed by Cardinal Robert Sarah, it is nonetheless a decision from the Pope.
There are several reasons for the elevation of this particular Church, which was built in 1932. It is a pilgrimage site to Our Lady of Sevenwouden, a statue of whom was the focal point of a Procession, the first in four Centuries, through the heart of Bolsward in 2015; it is also the centre of a Devotion to Blessed Titus Brandsma, the Martyr to the Nazis, who was born in Bolsward.
Bishop Gerard de Korte, at that time still Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden, made the official request to Rome in 2015, supported by the rest of the Bishops’ Conference. The Congregation for Divine Worship then conducted an investigation, looking at the quality of the Liturgy, Catechesis and Charity. The elevation of the Church is therefore not just a honour for the building, but also for the Faith Community it houses.
As a sign of it being a Basilica, the Church will be allowed to use the Papal Insignia of The Two Keys, and it will house a Conopeum and a Tintinnabulum, a Canopy and Bell to signify the close bond with the Pope. The local community will also be Celebrating a number of extra Feasts, including the Anniversary of The Election of the Pope, and it will be obliged to maintain the vitality and meaning of its activities and life.
The future Basilica of Saint Francis is the first for Groningen-Leeuwarden, the twenty-seventh for The Netherlands and the most Northern. Like the vast majority of Basilicas in the World, it is a Minor Basilica. There are only four Major Basilicas, all in Rome [Editor: They are; Saint Peter's; Saint Mary Major; Saint John Lateran; Saint Paul-without-the-Walls]. The Basilica is located in Bolsward, in West Friesland, and is one Church location in the Parish of Blessed Titus Brandsma. Parish Priest is Fr. Arjen Bultsma, Episcopal Vicar for Friesland and The Noordoostpolder. under Bishop de Korte.