Constructed between 1921 and 1925, the OLV National Shrine & Basilica is considered the crown jewel of Venerable Nelson Baker’s “City of Charity,” and one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant churches in the U.S.

Fitting with Father Baker’s vision of a shrine “that will, in beauty and grandeur, be worthy to be consecrated to the Mother of God,” the Basilica was designed in the late French Renaissance architectural style, which seeks to instill a sense of awe in the faithful.

A Critical Situation

The main dome is comprised of approximately 8,000 square feet of original, 100-year-old copper. At the time of its completion in 1925, the dome was second in size only to the U.S. Capitol Building at 165 feet high.

Unfortunately, the annual freeze-thaw cycle of the Western New York climate has taken its toll on the roof over the past century. There are multiple areas where the copper dome has deteriorated to a point that it is allowing substantial water infiltration, which, in turn, has caused plaster damage to interior areas of the sanctuary, as well as damage to painted artwork and frescas.

We Need You

OLV intends to completely replace the dome with copper materials, with all work detailed accordingly to meet the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.

It is anticipated that the work will begin in the spring of 2024, with construction taking approximately two years. It is hoped that it will be completed in time for the re-consecration of the Basilica in May 2026.

The total cost of replacing the main copper dome—including the labor and materials necessary to remove the old roof and install a new one—exceeds $3.5 million.

To ensure the structural integrity and beauty of the OLV National Shrine & Basilica for decades to come, it is essential that the 100-year-old copper on the Main Dome be replaced. As a devoted benefactor, we ask you to consider adopting one of the 2,000 angels within the Basilica with contribution of $1,000 or more. If you'd like to support the campaign in this way, please contact Shannon Donovan at (716) 828-9610 to discuss your personal gift or pledge over time.