Doors of Mercy: United States of America
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Divine Mercy Parish was established in 2003 with the merger of 2 parishes in Bellevue, KY: Sacred Heart (founded 1874) and St. Anthony (founded 1889). We continue to use Sacred Heart Church, which is an impressive and beautiful example of sacred architecture, built in 1892.
The parish of Saint Francis Xavier is the oldest in Indiana, with parish records beginning in 1749. The foundation of the present church was laid in 1826. The first four bishops of the Diocese of Vincennes are buried in the crypt. The church was elevated to the rank of minor basilica in 1970.
Completed in 1963, the church contains shrines to its patron, St. Francis, and to St. John Paul II, who established the Diocese of Metuchen in November 1981. The shrines feature statues made exclusively for the church, along with relics of the saints.
Built over a fifty-five year period, the cathedral was dedicated on 19 October 1954. In 1995, Pope John Paul II celebrated vespers in the presence of the President of the United States. He later raised the cathedral to the dignity of a minor basilica.