The Minor Basilica in beautiful, historic Natchitoches, Louisiana is one of seven proto-parishes established by Bishop Sam Jacobs. The parish began as a small chapel to Fort St. Jean Baptiste under the patronage of St. Francis.
When the Diocese of Natchitoches was established on July 29, 1853, the Church was reestablished as a Cathedral by it's new bishop, August Marie Martin. When the Diocesan See was transferred to Alexandria in August of 1910, the Church's status reverted to a parish.
The history of the current Parish dates back to the early 1700s. The present Church at Church and Second Streets in Natchitoches was built in 1857 and completed in 1892. The front vestibule was added in 1955 and in 1992 a project to restore the church to its 1892 grandeur was begun and ended with a re-dedication in 1996. On January 10, 2010, the church was dedicated a Minor Basilica, the second to be named in Louisiana after St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
Many of the fixtures inside the church were imported from European Christendom. French and German arts are evident in the hand-painted Stations of the Cross and the magnificent stained glass, respectively. Bishop Augustus Aloysius Martin (+ Sept, 1875), late Bishop of Natchitoches, is buried in the church along with his first Vicar General.
The primary lay ministry of the Minor Basilica is St. Marys Catholic School.
The clergy of the parish provide for the spiritual lives of the faithful according to the traditions of the Catholic Church, both ancient and new. Devotions are prayed before daily Masses and Confessions are heard before all Weekend Masses. First Friday devotions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are offered in honor of our Lord's Sacred Heart. Spiritual programs ranging from scripture study to missions are ongoing.
The Basilica is open to the public from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays. The Parish Gift Shop & Museum is open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays.
All in all, the historic Basilica of the Immaculate Conception remains a place of living and vibrant faith. All are most welcome!