Main Altar

The focal point of the Basilica’s interior is the sanctuary’s Main Altar. At its center is a nine-foot tall marble statue of the Blessed Mother that was personally blessed by Pope Pius XI before being shipped to the U.S. A gracefully unfurled canopy supports a large gold cross held aloft by four angels.

Over the altar is a beautiful blue dome (shown above), in the center of which is a painting of the Holy Spirit.

Four angels, each holding a shield reading “Ave,” “Maria,” “Gratia,” and “Plena” (“Hail Mary, full of grace”), can also be found above the altar.

Of particular note are the four columns surrounding Our Lady. The swirling pink, Spanish marble structures are patterned after Bernini’s baldacchino found in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  The columns carry a unique story: Buffalo-born soldiers stationed in Spain shortly after World War I convinced a farmer there to donate the rare materials to Father Baker’s dream project … another example of Father Baker’s reach throughout the world!