Sacred Heart Church completed


Seventeen years after the cornerstone of the second (and present) Sacred Heart Church was laid, and after undergoing many design changes, Bishop Joseph Dwenger finally consecrated the new sanctuary on August 15, 1888.

The first plans called for a baroque design at a cost of $100,000, but University founder Fr. Edward Sorin, scrapped those for a Gothic plan that reflected his French taste and desire to build a striking landmark – and keep within his modest budget. Prominent features include the 44 large stained glass windows imported from France and the interior murals completed by Vatican painter Luigi Gregori. Its 24-bell carillon, the oldest in North America, is housed in a 218-foot spire and includes a seven-ton bell named after St. Anthony of Padua. It is the tallest university chapel in America.

In 1968, the church was renovated with the intention of bringing it in line with the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council. A restoration project beginning in 1988 closed the Basilica for 18 months while the paintings and stained glass were restored to their original condition. In conjunction with Notre Dame’s 150th anniversary, Pope John Paul II designated Sacred Heart Church a minor basilica in January 1992.