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Basilica Of The Sacred Heart : A Must Visit To One Of The Most Impressive Structures In Notre Dame, Indiana

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Tourist Attractions: Basilica Of The Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Indiana

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, is one of the most impressive and inspiring structure. Located on the University of Notre Dame campus, the landmark cathedral attracts thousands of tourists each year.

It is also the Congregation of Holy Cross’ mother church in the United States. The Basilic is a testament to the power of the Catholic faith to influence the lives and cultures around the world. 

Basilica of the sacred Heart

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which is the University Church, serves the spiritual needs of students, faculty and staff at the University of Notre Dame.

Consecrated to the Sacred Heart on August 15, 1888, it was elevated to the rank Minor Basilica on 17 January 1992.

The Basilica is a spectacular, Gothic-inspired, cross shaped place of worship that welcomes and nurtures Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. It is home to the largest collection in the world of French stained glasses from 19th century. These windows are filled with stunning artwork. 

The Basilica is a major tourist attraction in Northern Indiana, and is visited annually by more than 100,000 tourists.


Notre Dame’s first Church was built in 1848. However, the university outgrew the original church quickly and in 1869 planning began for the present Basilica. The Gothic Revival architecture was used to build the new church.

This reflects Fr. Sorin’s French taste combined with his desire to build a landmark was reflected in the Gothic Revival architecture. 

Basilica of the Sacred Heart

The foundations were built in 1870, with six bishops present. It took many years for the building to be completed and it has been through many changes.

August 15, 1875 saw the first Mass. In 1887, the Lady Chapel was added. On August 15, 1888, Bishop Joseph Gregory Dwenger consecrated the new sanctuary.

Fr. Sorin ordered glass windows from Carmel du Mans Glassworks. This was owned by Carmelite nuns who provided windows for the original church in 1863 and with whom Fr. Sorin had a long standing relationship.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart

The first windows painted in 1874 were made by the Carmelites themselves.

Sponsors were needed to help pay for the windows. Alexis Coquillard and Sister M. Germaine de la Passion, C.S.C. contributed a large amount (seventeen thousand francs) for the chapel and sanctuary windows. 

Notre Dame also received a ten-percent commission on all windows it ordered through Fr. Sorin’s influence. 


Wilfred Anthony, a New York architect, designed the first comprehensive renovation of the Church in 1931. It was renovated again in the late sixties, early seventies to reflect the Second Vatican Council’s liturgical reform. 

The high altar was retained, but was moved behind. A wooden freestanding and ornate wooden altar was placed at its crossing. The choir stalls from the presbytery were removed and moved to the Lady Chapel.  

Basilica of the Sacred Heart

1969 saw the removal and replacement of the altar rail with a shorter pulpit. These changes were made keeping in view the Council’s direction, which were meant to remove barriers between celebrant and congregation.

The last and the major renovation was done in 1989 which was undertaken by Conrad Schmitt Studios. During this renovation, some of the renovations done in 1969 was reverted, including the return of the Gregori stations of the Cross and a return of more ornate decoration.

With 116 stained glass windows and more that 1,200 glass panels, the restoration and conservation of these historic stained-glass windows was one of the Studio’s most ambitious single projects.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart

The Church of the Sacred Heart was granted Minor Basilica status by Pope John Paul II on January 17, 1992. This had been Fr. Sorin’s wish since 1888.

Paul Fritts & Company Organ builders of Tacoma (Washington) designed the basilica’s newest addition: the organ. The four-manual, 70 stop Murdy Family Organ contains 5,194 pipes and stands 40 feet high. It was installed over the course of several months in 2016.


  1. For group tours, you may contact the basilica office in advance. From Monday to Friday, tours are preferred between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. While you may request a tour for a group at another time, please keep in mind that tours may take place outside these times.
  2. Volunteer tour guides are available to welcome you and answer your questions. (Monday-Friday from 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. and Sundays from 1-3 p.m.)
  3. While you are welcome to the Basilica at any time of year, January, February, and March are the quietest months at the Basilica. 
  4. Admission is free.

FAQs About Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame

Why is Basilica of the Sacred Heart important?

It is one the earliest examples of Gothic Revival religion architecture. Its a bold, innovative structure on a scale unmatched anywhere in North America when it was built. 

Why was Basilica of the Sacred Heart built?

Leopold II visited the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur of Paris in 1902, and inspired by it, decided to build a pilgrimage church back home, a national sanctuary dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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