There is one Catholic Church in Key West, St. Mary Star of the Sea, and just recently Pope Benedict XVI designated it a Minor Basilica. That makes St. Mary the fifth Minor Basilica in Florida and the seventy-second in the United States of America.
As a Minor Basilica, St. Mary Star of the Sea is now the Pope’s parish church in the Miami Archdiocese. The term basilica is a title of honor bestowed on a church of historical and spiritual importance by the Holy Father. To be named a Minor Basilica, a church must show that it deserves the rank in terms of historical significance, architectural uniqueness, and spirituality.
St. Mary’s is the Oldest Catholic Church in South Florida, and now, the first basilica in the Archdiocese of Miami. Construction of the building began on February 2, 1904 and the church was dedicated on August 20, 1905.