tintinnabulum & canopeum

The Canopeum is a symbolic shield of protection for the pope during his travels. It remains open anticipating the day the Holy Father visits the Basilica.

The Tintinnabulum is a small gold bell surrounded by a frame crowned with the papal tiara and keys. It would lead the procession down the center aisle if the pope were to celebrate Mass here.

These two items, along with the Papal Coat of Arms hanging just above the Basilica’s main entrance, signify the Shrine’s sacred place within the Catholic Church and its special relationship to the Holy Father.  They can only be found within places of worship designated as “Minor Basilicas.”

Of the 20,000+ Catholic churches in the United States, fewer than 100 have received the title.  When it was consecrated in 1926, the OLV Basilica was only the second such shrine in the nation.