UPDATE 3/5/2014 5:25 PM
The first Ash Wednesday service as a Basilica.
A major service for the Catholic community in Marietta.
Wednesday it was standing room only for the noon service.
The Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption became a Basilica last June.
The church is the only one in the area and 76th in the nation now belonging to the Diocese of Rome.
"This is obviously the first lent in our Basilica, so we will be having extra ceremonies and extra talks and things, that would relate to Pope Francis because since we are now so intimately related to Rome it's part of our obligation to speak about things that happen in Rome and at the Vatican," says Rector of the Basilica, John Michael Campbell.
Rector Campbell says the attendance has risen since becoming a Basilica during services, but also many come to visit as part of their pilgrimage or even just to visit.
UPDATE 3/3/2014 11:45 AM
After being recognized as a Basilica back in November, St. Mary's in Marietta is now getting national attention.
The inaugural service of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption was shown Saturday afternoon on the Catholic Network, EWTN.
The service, which took place November 5th, brought in a number of bishops and other diocese members from all over the area.
And with this national broadcast, the church is expecting to have more visitors.
"Also not only give recognition to our diocese and this basilica but also to the city of Marietta," says Monsignor John Michael Campbell. "It will be good for us because more pilgrimages will come as a result of this broadcast and it will bring people into our area."
The title of basilica was given to the church in June.
St. Mary's now holds a higher distinction among other churches in the diocese of Steubenville.
UPDATE 11/5/2013 11:05 PM
Parishioners celebrate the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in Marietta.
They receive a very special honor.
The title of Minor Basilica was given to the church in June and Tuesday night was the inaugural celebration, with many visiting priests and diocese members coming for the ceremony.
St. Mary's now holds a higher distinction among other churches in the Diocese of Steubenville and parishioners couldn't be happier.
"The parishioners love the church so much and Father Mike takes such good care of it, it's just really great for Marietta to have a Basilica," says Parishioner Katie Husion.
The Basilica of St. Marys now has the right to display the papal symbol.
Basilicas are traditionally named because of their historical and architectural value.
There are only two others in the state of Ohio, and now this Marietta church shares the same great distinction.
Monsignor John Michael Campbell from St. Mary's Catholic Church says the secretary of liturgy for the United States Council of Catholic Bishops had a big suggestion; that they apply to the Sacred Congregation for Liturgy in the Sacraments to have the church named a basilica.
“It's the 76th basilica in the United States, so it's a great honor for us as a parish,” Campbell says. “It's a tremendous honor for the Diocese of Steubenville and it's a tremendous honor for the city of Marietta.”
Campbell says bus groups already signed up to visit the basilica and are traveling to Marietta to see what a wonderful place they have.
The official dedication is Tuesday, November 5.