Basilica Foundation wins civic achievement Award from Polish American Congress

The Basilica of St. Josaphat.

The St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation received an award from the Polish American Congress — Wisconsin Division for its efforts to raise money for repairs and restoration work to the St. Josaphat Basilica on Milwaukee’s south side.

The Basilica of St. Josaphat.
The Basilica of St. Josaphat.

“Thanks to the continuing close cooperation between the foundation and the Franciscan clergy who lead the parish, the Basilica of St. Josaphat will remain for decades to come as a key cornerstone that anchors the entire community for which it has been, and will continue to be, an important and integral part,” Polish American Congress representatives wrote in a program for the award ceremony.

The foundation was honored along with several other individuals and organizations who have contributed to the city’s polish community, including State Rep. Ken Skowronski, St. John Paul II Catholic Polish Saturday School and the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.

The award ceremony took place at the Polish Center of Wisconsin at 6941 South 68th St. in Franklin Nov. 6.

The 115-year-old basilica, which is considered one of Milwaukee’s most significant architectural assets, has structural issues caused by years of wear.

The Basilica Foundation said deterioration has reached “epic proportions,” and needs to be addressed immediately to preserve its legacy and protect its historic designation. The basilica is listed as both a local and national historic landmark.

According to the Basilica Foundation, around 50,000 visitors come to St. Josaphat each year, some from places around the world such as Turkey, Australia, Brazil, India, Korea, France and Chile.

On March 7, 2017, Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre will perform with his choral choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers, at the Basilica of St. Josaphat as part of his six-stop U.S. tour titled “Music for Sacred Spaces.”

The concert will be held as a fundraiser for the St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation’s $7.5 million capital campaign to make major repairs to the basilica’s masonry, roof and stained glass windows.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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