July 18, 2014
To the Clergy, Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Honolulu
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is with great joy that I announce to you that the mother church and seat of the Diocese of Honolulu, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, has been designated a Minor Basilica!
The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, exercising a special faculty given to it by the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, issued the decree on May 10, 2014, the liturgical memorial of St. Damien, and I received it just this week.
The title of Minor Basilica is sometimes conferred on a church because of its historical, cultural, and liturgical distinction. A cathedral, of course, is a church that is the seat of the diocese, the place from which its chief shepherd, the bishop, presides over the community of love. The designation of Minor Basilica is an honor that links it in a special way to the Holy Father. Our own Cathedral, now to be known as the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, was dedicated in 1843, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. It is where St. Damien was first welcomed when he arrived in Hawaii and where two months later he was ordained a priest. It is where St. Marianne was welcomed when she arrived in Hawaii with her Franciscan Sisters. It is where our diocesan community held the local celebrations after the canonizations of both saints and where their relics are now housed for veneration. It is the place where St. Marianne's mortal remains will be enshrined on July 31, 2014. In this Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, countless thousands have encountered the risen Lord Jesus in Word and Sacrament and have been renewed and strengthened in their faith.
Although the designation has already taken effect, we will celebrate this honor bestowed on our diocese at a Mass of Thanksgiving on Saturday, October 11, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., the fifth anniversary of the canonization of St. Damien. Join me in thanking God for this great honor and in praying that it will be for the greater glory of God and the growth of the gospel here in Hawaii and throughout the world.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu