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NYC's St. Patrick's cathedral gets basilica status

Visitors to New York's Fifth Avenue walk past

Visitors to New York's Fifth Avenue walk past St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. (Nov. 20, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

NEW YORK (AP) — A 200-year-old church that served as New York City’s first Roman Catholic cathedral has been designated a basilica.

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral officially was inaugurated a basilica by Archbishop Timothy Dolan during Sunday vespers at the Lower Manhattan church. The designation was approved by Pope Benedict XVI in March.

The elevated status recognizes the church’s rich history, including its ministry to generations of immigrants and work sheltering orphans.

The landmark church was built between 1809 and 1815.

It was replaced as the seat of the Archdiocese of New York in 1879 when the larger St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

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