As the Diocese of Phoenix officially takes over St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Phoenix, the Franciscan Friar’s presented the keys to the Basilica to Bishop John Dolan in a ceremony at the conclusion of Mass on Saturday. In addition, the congregation was invited to follow the liturgical procession through the various locations on the parish grounds and Church denoting historical milestones of the Franciscan community.

Because of diminished priestly vocations and a restructuring of their United States Provinces, the Franciscan Friars of the Santa Barbara Province are withdrawing from pastoral leadership of St. Mary’s Basilica on July 1. Last Saturday a special Mass was held before a capacity crowd at the Basilica to honor the Friars’ 127-year legacy at the historic church. Fr. John Muir, who also serves as the vicar general for the diocese, will now take over as pastor of the Basilica.

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