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March 19, 2014

Vatican designates Victoria’s Cathedral of the Plains a minor basilica

The Vatican has conferred an honor and a new name on the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria, designating it a minor basilica.

The Vatican has conferred an honor and a new name on the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria, designating it a minor basilica.

“Cathedral of the Plains” is the nickname for St. Fidelis Church, a historic Catholic church off I-70 on the way to Hays. It is now known as the Basilica of St. Fidelis.

There are four major basilicas in the Roman Catholic Church, all in Rome, including St. Peter’s at the Vatican. There are more than 1,600 minor basilicas throughout the world, but only 78 in the United States. This is the first in Kansas.

The designation recognizes the historical and architectural significance of the church as well as making it more officially a place of pilgrimage, said Doug Weller of the Diocese of Salina, of which St. Fidelis is a part. Pilgrims who visit a basilica can receive a plenary indulgence.

Salina Bishop Edward Weisenburger sought the designation at the urging of then-pastor the Rev. Jeff Ernst. The dedication, led by Weisenburger, will be June 7.

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