Beautification projects to take place at Grotto and outside the Basilica

Author: Mike Daly; Planning, Design and Construction

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Improvements are coming this summer to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Natural stone pavers will be installed in place of the pavement surrounding the Grotto while brick pavers will replace the asphalt outside the main entrance to the Basilica.

The projects will begin after Commencement and be completed before classes begin in the fall. Each project will be broken into several phases, which includes the following work:

  • The main staircase north of the Grotto will be closed all summer and completely replaced with wider, more accessible steps.

  • New memorial benches surrounding the Grotto will be installed.

  • A small turnaround drive will be added southwest of the Basilica’s main entrance so visitors can be dropped off at the church. No parking will be allowed in the turnaround.

  • The Basilica entrance to the west of the main doors will be made handicapped accessible.

The Grotto will not be wheelchair accessible from June 24, through Aug. 2. During that period, the staircase located behind the sacristy will provide the only access to the Grotto. Traveling up and down the stairs could also be difficult for anyone who uses a walker or has trouble walking.  

To see maps outlining each phase of the projects, visit the Facilities Design and Operations website. More information about worshipping at the Grotto and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is available at

HIstory: Built in 1896, Notre Dame’s Grotto is one-seventh the size of the famed French shrine where the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette on 18 occasions in 1858. The first Mass was celebrated in Sacred Heart in 1875, and Bishop Joseph Dwenger of Fort Wayne consecrated the church on Aug. 15, 1888. In January 1992, in conjunction with Notre Dame’s 150th anniversary, Pope John Paul II designated Sacred Heart Church a minor basilica.