On Sunday, December 4, 1927, St. John’s church was solemnly dedicated by Most Rev. Thomas W. Drumm, D.D., Bishop of Des Moines. A Solemn Pontifical High Mass was celebrated upon the newly dedicated altar. The present altar of celebration was made in Italy and was consecrated on June 5, 1983.
St. John’s Catholic Church was named to the National Registry of Historical Places on September 8, 1987. On December 31, 1989, Most Rev. William H. Bullock, Bishop of Des Moines, presided at the Solemn dedication of the church as a minor basilica.
A church is a sacrament in stone. It presents a sign of God’s presence in the world. As you enter the church you ascend from the normal, the everyday, and rise to encounter the living God. The very facade of this building is an invitation to come and encounter Jesus Christ. Like all church families, this one reaches out with the hands of Christ and invites you to come into the love of God, come home to the Basilica of St. John.
Architecture of the Basilica
The church is patterned in the style of the Northern Italian, or Lombardy Romanesque, and resembles St. Paul’s Basilica outside the Walls of Rome.
The architects were from McGinnis and Walsh of Boston, who also designed the National Shrine in Washington D.C. found on the campus of Catholic University. The local architect was John Normile, and the contractor was Charles W. Wietz, both of Des Moines.