Washington, D.C.: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
About the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
Here in the capital of the U.S. you will find the largest Catholic church in the United States, and one of the 10 largest Catholic Churches in the world. Close to one million pilgrims from around the country and the world visit the Basilica each year.
The foundation was laid in 1920 and the crypt level was finished in 1931; however, the Great Depression followed by World War II meant postponements in construction and the upper portion structure was not completed until 1959.
In August 2006, work was completed on a mosaic covering the Redemption Dome in the Upper Church. There are 70 chapels honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary and reflecting the origins of the Catholic immigrants and religious orders whose generosity erected them. The interior Has many domes decorated in mosaics, quite similar to the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, but much larger.
One of the notable items in the crypt area is the Papal Tiara of Pope Paul VI, used to crown him Pope in 1963. This is the last time a Papal Tiara was used in such a ceremony.
Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine in 1979, the first Pope to have done so. In 1990 he named the national shrine as a Minor Basilica.
In 2008, during his apostolic pilgrimage to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the Golden Rose upon the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Golden Rose is an honor dating back to the eleventh century and its conferral is rare and considered a great privilege.
The basilica is located on Michigan Avenue in the northeast quadrant of Washington, on land donated by The Catholic University of America. Nearby is the Shrine of Pope John Paul II.
Masses are scheduled daily in several languages.
Traveling to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
Address: 400 Michigan Avenue, Northeast, Washington, D.C. 20017
GPS coordinates: 38° 56′ 0.4704” N, 77° 0′ 2.6244” W
Tel: +1 (202) 526-8300 Fax: +1 (202) 526-8313
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.