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Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a large minor Catholic basilica and national shrine in the United States in … See more


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Oct 14, 2022
I’ve been to some impressive churches in Europe, and the National Shrine is comparable in many ways. There were shrines to Mary in the actual Basilica that were beautifully adorned and a must see. Th… Full review by drkjw
Sep 24, 2022
Beautiful church. Mass in the crypt church was great. Had a great tour guide! So much beauty to see. Loved it! Walking down in the crypt and hearing multiple masses at once was wonderful. Put it on … Full review by Jane L
Sep 15, 2022
I had seen this beautiful church online, but only pictures of the outside. It is definitely beautiful outside, but the inside of the church is spectacular. Masses were held while I was there if you w… Full review by roj1281


Notable for Its Neo-Byzantine Architecture
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a prominent Latin Rite Roman Catholic basilica, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the principal Patroness of the USA. The shrine is the largest Catholic church in the United States, the twenty-first-largest church building in the world, and the tallest building in Washington, D.C. An estimated one million pilgrims from around the country and the world visit the basilica each year. Construction of this church, notable for its Neo-Byzantine architecture, began in 1920 under Philadelphian contractor John McShain. It opened unfinished in 1959. The shrine has merited several papal visits, by Pope John Paul II who designated the National Shrine as a Minor Basilica on October 12, 1990, and Pope Benedict XVI, who bestowed the honor of a Golden Rose to the basilica. The Basilica does not have its own parish community, but it serves the adjacent University, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and hosts numerous Holy Masses for various organizations of the Church from across the United States. The Basilica houses 70 chapels honoring Mary and reflecting the origins of the Catholic immigrants and religious orders whose generosity erected them. Its Greek-styled interior is crowned with numerous domes decorated in mosaics, similar to the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, Italy, but much larger. The mosaics feature American renditions of traditional Catholic images. Artist Jan Henryk De Rosen, who presided over the shrine's iconography committee was also responsible for much of its decor, including composing the large mosaic over the northern apse.

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