Key West, Florida: Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea
About Key West & the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea
A popular destinations for tourists, the Florida Keys stretch for about 120 miles from the U.S. mainland. Key West is the largest of these islands and has a population of about 25,000. The only Catholic church on the island, Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea, offers the opportunity for those on vacation to attend Mass, visit the shrine and have a place of quiet meditation.
The Lourdes grotto here on the grounds is a replica of the one in Lourdes, France.
Protected from Hurricanes?
Key West is, of course, directly in the path of most Atlantic hurricanes. Over the years prior to 1922, the city was destroyed and re-built many times as the storms came through and basically destroyed all its buildings along with a tremendous loss of life.
A religious sister, M. Louise Gabriel, of The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary prayed, “As long as the Grotto stands, Key West will never again experience the full brunt of a hurricane.” That was in 1922, and to this date, Key West has never been hit by a major hurricane, even though it is right in the path of many storms, including Hurricane Irma in 2017.
In May 2012, it was raised to the status of Minor Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.
Check their bulletin for changes, but as of now the daily Masses are at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, Saturday vigil at 6:00 p.m. and then several English-language Masses on Sunday plus one Spanish-language Mass. On the second Tuesday of the month there is a Polish-language Mass at 7:00 p.m.
Many cruise lines spend a day here, and it is not far from the cruise ship terminals to the Basilica. There are three distinct terminals where the ships dock, depending upon which cruise line you are on.
There is also a gift shop here–the only one for about 100 miles! The gift shop offers many religious items for sale and all profits go to support the Mary Immaculate School, so we urge you to browse their selection. It is staffed by volunteers and open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and before and after the weekend Masses.
There is also a 45 minute tour, available for anyone interested, every Tuesday and Wednesday at 11 AM and on Saturdays at 4:30 PM.
The Basilica is also a popular spot for weddings from those outside the Diocese. You need to check their website for details including the standard procedures that you need to follow for any Catholic wedding. Especially note that there is a deposit required for those wishing to be wed there.
This is a necessary precaution, since in the past some couples from outside the parish scheduled weddings and did not show up, while members of the parish were unable to schedule their own weddings there on the same date. Naturally, this came as a great disappointment to members of the Parish.
Can’t make it to Key West? You can order Saint Mary Star of the Sea medals by clicking here.
Traveling to the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea in Key West:
Address: 1010 Windsor Ln, Key West, FL 33040
GPS coordinates: 24° 33′ 11.0988” N, 81° 47′ 43.6344” W
Tel: +1 (305) 294-1018 Fax: +1 (305) 292-8096
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea in Key West
Click here to find hotels in Key West, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
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