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City's oldest Catholic church becomes a minor basilica

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Updated: 12/09/2013 8:51 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The city's oldest Catholic Church is getting somewhat of a promotion.

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown Jacksonville will be raised to the status of a minor basilica during a special ceremony Monday evening.

The church has seen its share of history since its establishment in 1854.  Union soldiers burned and pillaged the church during the Civil War in 1863.

Twenty-eight years after a new church was rebuilt, the Great Fire destroyed the parish complex along with most of the city of Jacksonville in 1901.

Bishop William Kenny, a former pastor of the church, helped to rebuild it for a second time.

In order for a church to become a minor basilica, it must be a center of active and pastoral liturgy in a vibrant Catholic community, and have unique historical, artistic or religious importance.

Bishop Felipe J. Estevez requested the designation earlier this year.

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