The church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was built in neogothic style. Neogothic is the term used for a type of art particularly found in the architecture of Western Europe, especially in England. In the 19th century the architecture of the Middle Ages, with its Gothic Cathedrals, became popular again. The buildings of the Middle Ages gained much attention. The grand architect of the neogothic style in the Netherlands was Doctor P.J.H. Cuypers, who established his studio in Roermond. Neogothic churches are rarer in Limburg than in the northern provinces of the Netherlands, since the Catholic population in the south still possessed many original church buildings, in contrast to those in the North. One of the most succesful products of the neogothic style in Limburg is the basilica in Sittard. This was built by the architect J. Kayser of Venlo, a pupil of Cuypers.
The first stone was laid on 2 June 1875, a marble stone which came from the catacombs of the Holy Callixtus and was sent by Pope Pius IX. The building was completed in 1877 and consecrated on 5 July 1879 by monseignieur Paredis, the bishop of Roermond.
The charter granting the honorary title of basilica to the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Sittard was signed by pope Leo XIII on 6 May 1883. It was the first church in the Netherlands to receive this title. The word basilica comes from the Greek and means ‘royal’. Before Christ the word was used as an adjective to describe civil and palace halls, markets, court buildings. From the fourth century it became the name for a style of church buildings. In the nineteenth century it became a special honorary title for important churches.
The basilica knows two forms: the ‘basilica major’ and the ‘basilica minor’. In the nineteenth century it became possible to distinguish churches with the title ‘basilica minor’. Only the pope may elevate a church to basilica as long as it meets certain conditions. In every basilica there are two signs of honour, which are carried in the processions: the ‘tintinnabulum’ and the ‘conopeum’. The first is a small bell on a staff, decorated with the coat of arms of the church or bishop. The second is a half-open sunshade in the colours red and yellow (these were the papal colours until the middle of the 19th century).
The priest or rector of a small basilica when on duty wears over his cassock and superplie a short black coat with edging, button holes and buttons of purple red. The coat is called the ‘mozetta’. The coat of arms of the pope or the Holy See is mounted on the façade of the basilica. This coat of arms contains the papal insignia, i.e. the tiara and the two keys.
De Basilica in Sittard is visited daily to pray to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the Hope of the Hopeless.
Openingstimes of the church.
Daily from 9.30 – 12.00 am and from 14.00 – 16.00 pm.
De basilica is closed on Monday.
Thursday 10:30 am
Saturday 09.00 am
Sunday at 10:00 am
Rosary prayer every week day at 15.30 pm (except for Mondag).
Archbrotherhood of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,
Oude Markt 20,
6131 EN Sittard
phone + 31 46 4515141