The Vatican, as a sovereign entity, has its own flag. The yellow-and-white background features a coat of arms, which includes two keys. One key is silver, the other is gold, and they are crossed in front of a crown with three layers.
The symbol of the key is found frequently in the Bible as a sign of authority, specifically in Matthew 16:19, where Jesus said to St. Peter, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Twelve Promises of Christ
West Side Entrance
Joseph Procopio of E. F. Thresh Incorporated of East Syracuse, New York crafted this chair. The 67 inch chair is made of American red oak with two removable crests carved from pine and birch.
Basilica Emblem - The Umbrella at the Top - The Papal Umbrella, sign of a Basilica
Dolphin & Cross - Represents the Diocese of Syracuse.
M - Sign of Pope John Paul II and Poland
Harp - Stands for Msgr. Casimer Piejda who renovated our Sanctuary with Italian Marble
Heart of Thorns - Represents Jesus symbolizing our Parish, Sacred Heart
Lettering "OMINIA OMNIA IN CARITATE" - "ALL THINGS IN CHARITY" Because that is the aim of our parish.
The Basilica Has Six Altars
The East Altar honors St. Stanislaus, and is an original wooden altar from 1910. The area includes the statue of St. Anne teaching Mary to read the scriptures, and one of a pair of angels that dates back to 1910. In 1952 new marble altars were imported from Pietrosanta, Italy and the next sanctuary, which contains The Mother of Grace altar, reflects this transition. This altar contains relics from St. Andrew Bobola, Polish martyr; St. Macarius (Bishop of Jerusalem); and St. Stanislaus Kostka. The window above shows the Sacred Heart. The Coat of Arms on the left wall of the altar are that of Pope John Paul II & Benedict XVI The baptismal font, which was added in 1965, Infant of Prague statue and John Paul II are located here.
The Communion rail contains the symbols of the crucifixion. Found in the front of the main sanctuary is the Altar of Sacrifice, which was installed in 1991, portraying a large golden sacred heart of Jesus.
The altar of repose with its bronze tabernacle contains relics from St. Stanislaus, St. Casimir and St. Aetherius. The statues of Sts. Peter and Paul are at the ends. St. John, the beloved apostle, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, are beneath the cross. Symbols of bread and wine are on the altar base. The pulpit has the symbols of the 4 gospel writers. The windows behind the main altar all represent the theme of sacrifice. Starting at the left God accepts Abel’s sacrifice; Cain’s is rejected. An angel stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. Melchisedech, King of Salem, offers bread and wine as Abraham looks on. Noah offers a sacrifice to God on top of the mountain after the flood, while a rainbow shines. A statue of the Sacred Heart appears high above the altar.
St. Joseph’s altar, (symbol J on altar face) which honors the patron of the Universal Church, contains the relics of St. Gaudious (Bishop of Tarazona, Spain), St. Maria Goretti and St. John Vianney, is to the West of the main sanctuary. The window above is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Coat of Arms on the right wall belongs to Bishop Joseph O’Keefe who was instrumental in the application for Sacred Heart to become a basilica. Also visible is the Pope’s Chair, St. Jude and a marble statue of the Sacred Heart. The second original wooden altar is dedicated to St. Adalbert, a native of Poland. After having served as Bishop of Prague and Archbishop of Gniezno, he became the Apostle of Prussia when he converted pagans in Poland and Prussia. He was killed in 997 and thought to be the author of the Polish war hymn, “Bogarodzica”. St. Michael the Archangel is also visible, as well as Padre Pio, St. Theresa, Sister Faustina and the second angel of the pair from 1910.
St. Francis of Assisi, the son of a rich merchant, was born in a stable at the insistence of a stranger. He had a great love for the Crucified Lord. The Large West window represents The Glorious Mysteries. The left panel has the Ascension, and above that, the sending down of the Spirit to Mary and the Apostles. The middle panel shows the Resurrection, and below that, Jesus casts out the moneychangers. In the right panel, Mary is taken to heaven, and above she is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.
The left door shows St. Michael the Archangel, the right St. Jude, and the top window, the Infant of Prague. The infant is a form of devotion to the Holy Childhood and Kingship of Christ. It is believed that “as long as you honor this image you shall never want”. It was given to the Carmelite Fathers in Prague who have flourished since receiving it, and many favors have been granted. On the wall above is the Coat of Arms of the Basilica.Please move to the center aisle to see the Large North window above the choir that represents the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. The west panel has an angel with a whipping post, Mary and St. John under the cross in the center, and an angel with a ladder on the left. Above are the symbols of the crucifixion, hammer and tongs, spear and hyssop, seamless robe, crown of thorns, three nails, 30 pieces of silver, whipping post, whip and fasces (roman axe-symbol of authority). On the top the words “ Ojcze, w rece twoje polecam ducha mego”, “ Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit”. The picture at the very top of the Basilica is St. Casimir, a saintly prince and the king of Poland. The Savior’s passion and a great devotion to Mary consumed him. He recited daily “Daily, Daily Sing to Mary”. He died at the age of 25 and many miracles were reported at his tomb. After 120 years his body was found incorrupt. Also visible is the organ, which has over 5000 pipes, manufactured by M.P. Moller of Hagerstown, Maryland.
Please return to the west aisle to view the remaining windows. The 1st window depicts The Agony in the Garden. The 2nd window shows The Holy Family. The young Jesus learns carpentry. The 3rd window portrays the crucified Jesus appearing to St. Francis of Assisi. In the 4th window the young Jesuit St. Stanislaus Kostka receives Communion from an angel. Stanislaus prayed to Saint Barbara for the grace of a happy death and to receive the last sacraments, and in a vision the angel came to him. The 5th window shows St. Paul with a sword. The 6th window depicts Jesus the Good Shepherd with a lamb. In the 7th window the Virgin and Child appear to St. Stanislaus Kostka. Even though he was very ill at the time, the Virgin told him that his hour of death was not yet to come. The 8th window represents adoration of the infant by a shepherd as Mary, Joseph and an angel look on.
The main doors were replaced with bronze doors in 1974. The West door has the symbols of matrimony on the top, Saint Peter on the left, and Saint Maximilian Kolbe on the right. Kolbe, a Catholic priest, was executed in 1941 at Auschwitz when he volunteered to take the place of, and spare the life of Franciszek Gajowniczek, a man with a family. The Center door on top has the symbols of the Trinity with the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus below. The East door has the symbol of baptism on top and Mother Angela and Saint Paul on the bottom. Mother Angela is Blessed Angela Truszkowska, the foundress of the Felician Sisters. The Felician Sisters (Sisters of St. Felix, Order of St. Francis) St. Felix of Cantalice is the patron of children. The Felician Sisters have been teaching children at Sacred Heart since 1901. Currently they serve in parish ministry. The windows over the inner Basilica entrances are: the West, Jesus learning religion in the Holy Family; Center, Jesus and the little children; East, Jesus in the Temple at age 12. The plaques on the wall of the vestibule honor former pastors and Professor Louis Synakowski, representing their dedicated years of service. Plaques also memorialize generous supporters of Sacred Heart.
The statue of the Immaculate Conception, which represents the apparitions at Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, was made in Italy and is a gift of a parishioner.
Since 1981 the Blessed Mother has been appearing to six young people on a daily basis. She has shared with them secrets to be revealed in the future which will be preceded by an event, which will attest to the validity of these apparitions.
The Basilica structure is built in the form of a cross and is pure gothic style. It is 105 feet across and 165 feet long, with the spires reaching 212 feet that can be seen from Route 81 at Brighton Ave. to the south, and East and West along Route 690.
The Basilica has a seating capacity of 1000.
The windows in the Basilica proper are of stained Munich glass imported from Germany, with additional windows furnished by the Emil Frey Studios of St. Louis, Mo. and the Keck Stained Glass Studios of Syracuse.
The Stations of the Cross are made of terra cotta, in gothic frames that compliment the gothic structure of the Basilica. They date back to 1910 and were produced by F.F.R. Pustet.
The panel woodwork and pews, all of dark oak, are from the Tiffin Manufacturing Co. Each panel has one of 14 symbols that repeat around the Basilica.
Symbols around the Basilica. Alpha, Omega, Hope, Chi Rho (Christ), Sacred Heart, St. Joseph, Ave Maria, Holy Trinity and eternity, Polish Eagle, IHS, Eucharist, Matrimony, St. Peter, St. Paul.
over Jesus’ head. Helen, the mother of Constantine, and a convert late in life, found the true cross and nails.
Inside Windows East Wall Rear to Front
The 1st window shows Saint Anne and Mary as a young child. The 2nd window depicts Saint Stanislaus being martyred by King Boleslaus II. The king ordered his guards to kill Stanislaus, after the Bishop excommunicated him; but they all refused because they saw a light from heaven. After this occurred three times the King killed Stanislaus himself while the bishop was saying Mass. The 3rd window is the Sacred Heart of Jesus revealing himself to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675 when He appeared to her in four visions. This is one of several places in the Basilica where the Sacred Heart appears. The flames that come from His heart remind us of His burning love for us and the twelve promises He made to those who would honor His Sacred Heart[i]. The 4th window portrays Saint Agnes with lamb and palm branch. She is the patroness of purity who was beheaded at the age of 13 around 305 A.D. for refusing to give up her virginity. St. Paul and St. John refer to spotless virgins as ‘Companions of the Lamb’. The 5th window represents Christ the King and the 6th window shows The Immaculate Conception appearing to Bernadette at Lourdes. The 7th window portrays St. Stanislaus with a beggar at his feet, and the 8th window has the Empress, Saint Helen holding the true cross, 3 nails and the inscription that hung
1) I will give to my faithful all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2) I will bring peace to their homes.
3) I will comfort them in all their sufferings.
4) I will be their safe refuge against all the snares of their enemies in life and above all in death.
5) I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6) Sinners shall find in my heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
7) Fervent souls shall mount to high perfection.
8) I will bless every home in which an image of my heart shall be honored.
9) Tepid souls shall become fervent.
10) I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11) Those who promote this devotion shall have their names written in My heart, never to be effaced.
12) To all those who receive Communion on the First Friday of the month, for nine consecutive months, I
will grant the grace of final repentance.
The windows on the East Side Entrance consist of St. Joseph the Carpenter, the Immaculate Conception, and on the top, Our Lady of Czestochowa, known as the Black Madonna, due to the age of the piece and Byzantine style of painting features brown. The painting is believed to have been painted by St. Luke on a cypress tabletop made by St. Joseph. The picture was saved in the catacombs in Jerusalem until 326 when found by St. Helen who gave it to her son, Constantine. The picture was given to the Pauline Fathers in 1384. In 1430 Hussite soldiers attacked the monastery and slashed the painting, causing three scars on the right cheek. The offending soldier was struck dead on the third blow. In 1655 Czestochowa, Poland, was under attack by 3,000 Swedish troops and was being defended by 70 monks and 20 knights and 210 defenders. Through Our Lady’s intervention the Swedes were routed. Artists have made repeated attempts to repair the scars but they continue to re-appear after each retouching. Many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady, including the end to World War I in Poland. Above the door, looking up on the wall is the Coat of Arms of Bishop James Moynihan, ordinary of the diocese of Syracuse. He consecrated the Basilica in 1999.
The large East window represents the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. The left panel has the presentation of Jesus in the temple and above that is Jesus in the temple at age 12. The Middle shows the Birth of Jesus; below, Mary and Jesus give the rosary to St. Dominic. In the right panel Mary visits Elizabeth, and below it Angel Gabriel is announcing to Mary that she will be the mother of the Savior.
St. Anthony of Padua, who is the patron of the “lost and found”, stands below this window.
The Vestibule of the Basilica
Catholics understand this passage to mean that in using the image of keys, Jesus was invoking the words of Isaiah 22:22, where Eliakim, a humble servant, was given the keys to the House of David. In Biblical times, the king’s steward wore the keys to the palace on his shoulder, and was trusted with opening and closing the gates. All that the keys unlocked belonged to the king, but the steward was trusted with its safekeeping. With His words in Matthew, Jesus was establishing Peter and those who would follow him as stewards of the Church.
The keys on the Vatican flag are visual reminders of this Biblical passage. The golden key represents Peter’s and his successors’ power to bind and loose in heaven, and the silver key represents authority on earth