Thursday, February 27, 2014

(135) Inauguration of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption Marietta: a Jewel on the Banks of the Ohio:

The facade of the Basilica of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption

         The official name of St. Mary's Church Marietta is now the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption.  I heard that the Inaugural Mass solemnizing the designation of St. Mary's Church Marietta by Pope Francis as a new basilica on November 5 was beautiful.  The overflow crowd had to watch it on closed circuit TV in the basement.  Now we can have a great seat in our living room to see it replayed on EWTN March 1 at 3 pm.  Or you can watch it on the internet at  The video may be later archived on and

A scene from the Inaugural Mass of the Basilica on November 5, 2013

          The Basilica has great historical significance, since the first Mass ever said in the Northwest Territory was said at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers by Father Joseph de Bonnecamp, chaplain to a French expedition from Quebec in 1749.  One can see a huge painting of the scene, entering or leaving the Basilica on the left side.  There's an amusing 21st Century anachronism in it.  The two parish dogs have been immortalized and made a part of the painting.   

After the original church, built close to the river in 1853, had to endure four floods since 1884, Fr. Francis M. Woesmanin and his Advisory Committee spared no pain to build a magnificent church that was dedicated in 1909.  In those days the cost was $129,000 a small fraction of what it would cost today. Emile M. Uhlrich, the architect from Cleveland, described it as "Spanish Renaissance" style, a blend of Romanesque and Baroque.  Being at the geographical center of the Diocese of Steubenville, it could be the Cathedral, having been the de facto co-cathedral in which the Bishop has a second Chrism Mass every Tuesday of Holy Week.  For a detailed history, click on

By the time Msgr. Campbell became pastor in 2004, the church showed structural weakness which endangered the priceless stained glass windows.  A major restoration was in order.  With the help of his parishioners, he did a tremendous job in remodeling and restoring the century old church by 2009 and putting in art imported from Italy, including a beautiful mosaic of the Madonna and the Christ child.  The three large stained glass windows, imported from Munich-Germany in about 1914 for the transept and the rear of the nave, are stupendous.  God certainly deserves the best and in both 1909 and 2009, the parishioners of St. Mary’s gave our Lord their very best.  I've been all over the world and I'm convinced that the now Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption is one of the most beautiful churches in the world.  My first visit felt to me like a little taste of heaven that millions of us, rich and poor, Catholic and non-Catholic, can enjoy and be inspired in awe. 

The mosaic of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

             For these reasons St. Mary's Church has the special honor of now being officially called a basilica, probably beyond the dreams of Fr. Woesmanin.  As I understand, only 67 churches in the USA and 327 in our hemisphere have this great honor and only three in the state of Ohio.  Click on for the complete worldwide list.  A basilica is generally large and exceptionally beautiful.  It must have particular importance as great architecture, is a special shrine, has great historical significance, etc.
View of the transept to the right of the altar, including the cupola & large stained glass window.

        Thus the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption is by far the best place to hold the annual Diocesan Men’s Day of Renewal.  The 2010 and 2011 Men’s Conferences were held there.  It gives so much class and dignity to the annual Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal.  Now more than ever it is a worthy pilgrimage site with possible indulgences attached. See for an explanation.  Tours are available by clicking on

       The Diocese of Steubenville extends 233 miles (4 hours drive) from Carrolton in the north to Ironton in the south.  Steubenville is the population center of the diocese, but is in the north (35 miles from Carrolton).  However, Marietta is the geographic center (119 miles from Steubenville and 120 miles from Ironton), but does not have very many Catholics.  As a result, Chesapeake and Ironton (240 miles from Steubenville) in the extreme south are almost isolated from the rest of the diocese. The cost of a new cathedral in Steubenville is extremely high.  A possible solution would be to simply remodel the current Holy Name Cathedral, which they are doing.  Then they could have two co-cathedrals, one in Steubenville and the other in Marietta.  In this way the diocese could be renamed the Steubenville-Marietta Diocese as is the case with the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese across the river, which encompasses the entire state of West Virginia. 

       The Basilica, a blend of Romanesque and Baroque architecture, seems to have a Byzantine flavor and reminds me of the old Byzantine Cathedral, San Sofia in then Constantinople, now Istanbul-Turkey (see  I was fascinated during my 1962 visit by the beautiful mosaics which the Muslims covered with plaster in converting it into a mosque in 1453 and unwittingly preserved them in its original beauty for almost four centuries until 1931 when converted into a museum.  By the way, Msgr. Campbell is bi-ritual.  That is, he is one of very few priests to have the faculties of saying Mass in both the Latin Rite and the Byzantine Rite.

       Details with photos of the restoration, the beauty of the present basilica, and the inauguration together with Mass times and activities, click on  

        Joseph Schmidt, the Director of Religious Education at St. Mary's sent me the e-mail below with more detail concerning the inauguration of the Basilica.  He wears several hats:  Pastoral Associate/Director of Religious Education, Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption; Marriage Ministry Coordinator, Diocese of Steubenville; and Diocesan Respect Life Coordinator for the Southern Deaneries.  If you’re near Marietta, stop by at this magnificent basilica on 506 Fourth St. in Marietta just off Route 7 North.  Every year St. Louis Church Gallipolis offers us the opportunity to go there in the parish van for the Chrism Mass on Tuesday of Holy Week.  Take advantage of it.

            Congratulations to Msgr. Campbell, the parishioners,  and staff upon your church being given that great honor of being named a Basilica.  May the Basilica attract many pilgrims and sanctify its members.

The Chapel of the English Martyrs to the extreme right of the altar near the exit.
         Now the next epic step for the community of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption is to have perpetual adoration 24/7.  That would require the commitment of at least two parishioners ( one primary and one backup) every hour 24/7 in Eucharistic adoration.  It is very doable in a large parish if the will is there in some 100 dedicated people willing to give three or four hours a week each in adoration because there must always be someone present during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Since our Lord cannot be left alone, one person from the previous hour would have to stay over if no one shows up for the following hour.  The Basilica has a beautiful chapel called "The Chapel of the Three English Marytrs" (St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas Becket) to the extreme right of the altar which would be ideal for perpetual adoration.  Believe me, perpetual adoration would make a very significant impact on the parish and transform it, perhaps radically.  If not feasible right now, keep praying until the parish is ready for perpetual adoration.  A number of parishes in the Phoenix Archdiocese has had it going for several years now.
----- Forwarded Message -----From: Joseph Schmidt <>
To: Joseph Schmidt <>
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 3:59 PM
Subject: BREAKING NEWS -- The Inaugural Mass to be broadcast on EWTN March 1

We just learned the news:

The Inaugural Mass Solemnizing the Designation of Saint Mary of the Assumption as a Basilica will be broadcast on EWTN on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 3:00 PM.


Saint Mary of the Assumption Church in historic Marietta, Ohio, was designated as a Minor Basilica by Pope Francis in a decree dated June 13, 2013. After several months of preparation, the Inaugural Mass Solemnizing the Designation was held in Marietta on November 5, 2013.

The Most Reverend Jeffrey Monforton, Bishop of Steubenville was the principal celebrant for this Solemn Mass. He was joined by the Most Reverend William C. Skurla, Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and Metropolitan of the Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian) Metropolitan Church, the Most Reverend Gilbert I. Sheldon, Bishop Emeritus of Steubenville, the Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Joliet-in-Illinois, and the Most Reverend John Michael Botean, Bishop of the Eparchy of St. George in Canton for the Romanians.

The Reverend Monsignor John Michael Campbell, Rector of the Basilica, and 50 priests con-celebrated the Mass for approximately 700 people.
The symbols of the Basilica - the Umbrellino and the Tintinnabulum - were blessed and formally placed in the sanctuary during the Solemn Mass.

Viewing the Mass:
Check with your local cable provider for station information in your area, or watch the streaming broadcast from EWTN's website.

Additional Information:

More information about the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption can be found on our website.

A special documentary DVD about the Basilica and it's history is in the final stages of production and will be available for sale very soon for $10 each. (Anyone wanting more information on the DVD, or to place an order, can simply contact me.)
In the Peace of Christ,
Joe Schmidt

Emblem of a Basilica

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

(134) Dr. Ray Guarendi to feature Steubenville Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal March 22


Dr. Ray Guarendi

Editor's Post Conference Note:  For a summary of Dr. Ray Guarendi's talk and the 2014 Men's Day of Renewal, go to

(71) Dr. Ray Guarendi: Highlights of the 2014 Diocesan Men’s Day of Renewal

The 2014 Steubenville Diocesan Men's Day of Renewal will be held at St. Mary’s Church in St. Clairsville, Ohio on Saturday March 22 from 9 am to 3 pm.  At 8:30 am before the official start of the Conference, there will be a half hour of prayer with rosary.  The program features the dynamic and entertaining speaker, Dr. Ray Guarendi, who will challenge the men to be the true spiritual leaders of their families now or in the future.  A preview is available by clicking on  Too many of us really don’t know what true manhood is.  Also included is a Penance Service and a Mass presided, by Bishop Jeffrey Monforton.  The priests attending will concelebrate with him.  The Conference will close with a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament.

         The goal of the Men's Day of Renewal is to focus on the spiritual development of the men of our diocese. Having spiritually strong men of faith and character translates into more solid families, more dynamic parishes, and better communities. These are crucial to the Church, now and in the future, not to mention the critical need for nurturing vocations.  The theme of the Conference is “Get Connected: Let Christ be Your Light” with St. Joseph, model of a true man of God, as its patron.  The distance is great for many, but that gives the Conference a pilgrimage flavor and Lent is all about sacrifice.  After all, we're in a Super Bowl, and each one of us must win it.  The trophy for victory, the prize is eternal salvation, everlasting happiness in heaven when Christ Himself would say to you...... “Well done good and faithful servant.” 

            Too often the women are the pillars of the parish.  It is essential that the men take the spiritual lead in the family and in the parish.  One holy woman in our diocese likes to challenge the men and say: "I don't see many REAL men around".......i.e., authentic men of strong character, virtue, and integrity.......willing and able to put Catholic values into their families, their professions, and the public square.  She refers to some research.  It concludes that if the mother takes the spiritual lead in the family, there is in the neighborhood of a 40% probability that the children will remain faithful to the Church in later life.  However, if the father takes the spiritual lead, that probability doubles to about 80%.  But Danny Abramowicz, our 2012 speaker and former all-pro wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, succinctly pinpointed a great crisis in the Church and Society in general:  “The men have dropped the ball”.  If the men can get into good spiritual shape, we'll have stronger families and parishes.  Set the men on fire and you renew not only the parish, but the entire diocese and ultimately the Country, thus transforming Society.  THE CHURCH MUST REACH THE MEN!

             Dr. Ray (Guarendi), a prominent Catholic layman, is the featured speaker to complement the Mass presided by Bishop Montforton and the Penance Service.   Dr. Ray is a popular and entertaining speaker, appearing at conferences around the country to both secular and Catholic audiences.  Having extensive experience as a clinical psychologist, specializing in counseling families, parents, and children (for school districts, Head Start programs, mental health centers, substance abuse programs, inpatient psychiatric centers, juvenile courts, etc.), Dr. Ray is most qualified to speak on the topic:  Becoming better connected with your wife and kids with Christ as a beacon of light for the family to follow now and in the future”.

Dr. Ray with his family and St. Nick on his EWTN program "Living Right with Dr. Ray".

            As a father of 10, a clinical psychologist, consultant, author, a dynamic public speaker with over 2000 presentations throughout the country, and national syndicated radio and television host, Dr. Ray specializes in families.  Having a unique gift of blending deep insights, practical wisdom, and wit, he will help the men to become better husbands and fathers in resolving problems and fulfilling their responsibilities as the spiritual leaders of their families now and in the future.          

            His radio show― “The Doctor Is In” ― can be heard weekdays on EWTN Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Sirius satellite radio, channel 160, and local Catholic radio stations.  Dr. Ray also hosts his own national television show on EWTN, “Living Right With Dr. Ray.”  You can also listen or watch live online at

            His many books include: “You’re A Better Parent Than You Think!” (Prentice-Hall, 1985) 25th printing; “Back To The Family” (Random House, 1990); “Raising Kids Right” (Catholic Answers, 2001); “Discipline That Lasts A Lifetime” (Servant Books, 2003); “Good Discipline, Great Teens” (Servant Books, 2007); “Adoption: Choosing It; Living It; Loving It” (Servant Books, 2008); “Raising Good Kids: Back to Family Basics” (Our Sunday Visitor, 2011); “Marriage: Small Steps, Big Rewards” (Servant Books, 2011).  Furthermore, Dr. Ray writes extensively in national family magazines and newspapers.

            It should be a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration.  The last four years the men returned refreshed spiritually, reinvigorated, and enthusiastic.  Expect the same this year.  Most impressive in prior years was the Mass concelebrated by the Bishop with up to 25 pastors who accompanied their men.  The men sang with such enthusiasm that the walls reverberated.  It was great to see how the participants are moved by the beauty and power of the faith and it's contagious. But most of all, through grace we'll have a few more good spiritually strong men for the kingdom of God in the battle against secularism and other evils and problems that our troubled society must --not spiritual weaklings and wimps-- who will put Christ into their professions.  Finally, the men will become more knowledgeable, firmer in their faith and better prepared for a more joyful Easter, not to mention greater closeness to God and eternity which life on earth is all about.  If successful, a Men's Day of Renewal can become an annual event as a tradition in our diocese, thus fulfilling a great need. 

            One or two good men are urgently needed in each parish as representatives to help to assure adequate promotion overall and to promote the Men's Conference with one on one selling of the event.  Then they would organize the men to go as a group in the parish van, a van pool, or hiring a bus.  That would be great fellowship and would solidify the parish as the men get to know each other better, especially if the pastor accompanies them and we'll need confessors.  If the distance is great, there would be a pilgrimage flavor, especially if there's prayer and discussion of the day's events.  Pastors, already overworked, can't do it all, especially the grunt work of promotion.  They need the help of the laity.        

            Each prospective parish representative is asked to make his availability and contact information known to the Chair of the Steering Committee, Chuck Schneider at (740)782-1877, (740)338-9091, or  Men may register individually or the parish representative may collect the registration forms with payment and send them to Roger Huck; %Men’s Day of Renewal, P.O. Box 54; Beverly, OH 45715.  This would save considerable time waiting at the door.  Checks for the Registration cost of $25.00 per person are to be made payable to the Diocese of Steubenville with “Men's Day of Renewal” written on the memo line of the check. 

            Other Promotional Help Needed.  The best form of advertising is word of mouth.  Thus we are asking participants of past years to tell their friends about this great opportunity for spiritual renewal.  The local Knights of Columbus council can be invaluable in mobilizing their members and the other men in the parishes.  A layman could briefly talk about the conference at the end of Mass.  Other parish groups can help with the promotion.  The women can be most valuable in encouraging their men to attend.......husbands, sons, fathers, boy friends, etc.  Certainly, they want them to be true men of God.  This is really part of the new evangelization and every Catholic shares in that mission Christ gave us.  Perhaps, the parish could help the men who cannot afford the cost.

            Donations Needed & Ads Invited.  It is very expensive to put on a Conference of this magnitude and bring the top speakers of the country.  At the same time, the Steering Committee is doing its best to keep the Conference affordable for each participant during these difficult economic times.  Thus we are asking for donations from businesses, parish organizations, the Knights of Columbus, and individuals.  Please send any donation to Roger Huck as shown above. Businesses also may place ads in the program brochure by calling Roger Huck at (740)984-2234 by February 15.

            Often the enthusiasm generated at a men's conference is contagious and there is a spillover into parish life since the men see fellow participants moved by the beauty and power of the faith.  Non-Catholics are also welcome.  This is all part of the new fire up the apathetic Catholic who doesn't do much beyond attending Sunday Mass, i.e., the minimalist; to touch the drifting Catholic and the fallen away through the publicity and inviting them to attend.
        More information is available from your pastor, Chuck Schneider above, or “Paul Sebastian” <> at 740-245-9404.  The latter will provide the address to the Men's Conference blog, which has a wealth of promotional materials (possible bulletin and pulpit announcements, a possible bulletin insert, promotional ideas at the parish level, crucial role of the parish representative, possible talk by one of the men after Mass, etc.), interesting articles, and other information.  After the Conference through the rest of the year, articles will be added to help the men keep in good spiritual shape and continue in their quest of becoming true men of God.    

Please submit your registration as soon as possible. Registration will be accepted at the door, however, doing so in advance makes our planning more efficient and also helps to minimize waiting at the conference entrance.

*Get into good spiritual shape and avoid being a spiritual weakling, i.e., a spiritual wimp.
*Have a great day of enjoyable fellowship and spiritual invigoration in the parish van and at the conference, resulting in deeper friendships and parish cohesion.
*Develop ourselves as men of character and spiritual strength as we obtain the graces to conquer ourselves and cope with the problems that our troubled society and economy bring.
*Be a more effective spiritual leader of your family as a better husband and father.
*Prepare our hearts for the great feast of Easter and for eternity as we become closer to God..
*Become more knowledgeable about the faith and grow in Christian maturity.  We know so little about Church teaching.
*Become a more effective soldier of Christ in this Year of Faith as you do your part in evangelizing, establishing the  kingdom, winning the spiritual-culture war against secularism, and putting Christ into your profession.
St. Joseph, model of a true man of God, pray for us and for a successful Men's Conference.