Skip to main content

What is the difference between a Minor Basilica, a National Shrine, a Diocesan Shrine, a Cathedral and a Parish?

Minor Basilica - A Minor basilica is an honorific title granted by the Holy See to certain Catholic church buildings in order to emphasize their status.

National Shrine - A national shrine is a Catholic church or other sacred place which has met certain requirements and is given this honor by the national episcopal conference (CBCP in the Philippines) to recognize the church's special historical, cultural and religious significance.

Archdiocesan/Diocesan Shrine - An Archdiocesan or Diocesan Shrine is a Catholic Church or sacred place, an honor conferred by the local bishop or archbishop. To be designated as a diocesan shrine, the subject church must be a place "to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety." It must exceed other churches in terms of worship, Christian formation, and social services.

Cathedral - A Cathedral is the principal church or central church of a diocese. It is also referred to as the "mother church" of the diocese. It contains the cathedra (Latin for 'seat') of a bishop. 

Parish - A parish is a territorial entity within a diocese. A small administrative district typically having its own church which is under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of a priest, often termed a parish priest. The parish priest might be assisted by one or more curates often refereed as parochial vicars.

In Summary
  • Minor Basilica is an honor granted by the Holy See (Vatican).
  • National Shrine is an honor granted by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines or CBCP (in the Philippines).
  • Archdiocesan/Diocesan Shrine is an honor granted by the Local Bishop/Archbishop.
  • Cathedral - Mother Church of a Diocese with which the Bishop is usually associated with.
  • Parish - a small administrative district typically having its own church and a priest.
Facade of Nuestra Senora de Gracia Parish located at Brgy. Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City. (Photo taken on March 2022. Photo from ParishPH)