The first diocese in the American missionary territory was erected in Baltimore on November 6, with John Carroll as its first bishop. Seeking aid from heaven to assist the fledgling mission territory entrusted to his pastoral care, Bishop Carroll consecrated the United States to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception, making her the patroness of the new country. Bishop Thomas Joseph Shahan, the fourth rector of the Catholic University of America in Washington, spearheaded the project in its earliest stages of construction.
He won the support of Pope St. In a nationwide collection was taken in support of the construction as work on the Great Upper Church was beginning; this was finally completed and consecrated in The design of the National Shrine is Byzantine and Romanesque revival.
Its more than 80 unique chapels and oratories are each dedicated to different Marian titles from the diverse cultures and ethnicities that comprise the American Catholic Church, all of which fall under the unifying umbrella of the national patroness of American Catholics, the Immaculate Conception. However, a number of the original architectural plans were only recently completed. The mosaic covering the interior of two domes, depicting the Resurrection and birth of our Lord, were completed in and , respectively.
And now finally, as of yesterday, the crowning jewel not only of the domes of the basilica, but of the whole National Shrine itself, is complete.
Work began on the completion of the Trinity Dome last year. This capstone project completing the construction of the basilica after a century was done according to its original architectural plans and iconographic scheme. The mosaic ornamentation completing the Trinity Dome depicts a unique procession of saints besides the Holy Trinity and Our Lady. The procession of saints consists of those who have a connection to the United States or the Shrine itself, including, among others, St. Juan Diego the first canonized male Native American , St. Kateri Tekakwitha the first canonized female Native American , St.
Teresa of Calcutta an honorary American citizen , St. Junipero Serra declared a saint by Pope Francis at the National Shrine in for the first canonization ever to take place on American soil. We are grateful to Msgr. Walter Rossi, the rector of the National Shrine, who oversaw the completion of this project, for making time to answer a few questions.
Walter Rossi: I am responsible for the overall care of the Shrine and our guests in the same way as a pastor is responsible for his parish and parishioners. As a matter of fact, the Shrine was built in two stages, first from The Upper Church was built between and This has been done through the addition of chapels, mosaics, and marble facing.
The Trinity Dome is the last part of the Upper Church to be completed.
Rossi: It was a hope which has now become a reality thanks to the support of Catholics throughout the United States, our bishops, and the leadership of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who serves as the chairman of the National Shrine Board of Trustees. What was the process of completing it like? Rossi: This project was approved by our Board of Trustees in and since that time we have been working on the project.
These people, speaking different languages, coming from different backgrounds of history and traditions in their own countries, came together around the heart. In Christian theology, the Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Virgin Mary free from Major shrine · Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception .. Without making Islamic belief the origin of the doctrine defined in , a similarity between the two has been noted also by Roman Catholic writers.
This involved many individuals, including our Iconography Committee and Plant and Facilities Committee, who were an integral part of the process, as well as contractors both here in the United States and in Italy. CWR: Who decided upon the images depicted upon the mosaic that adorns the dome, and why were they chosen? We are simply completing what was envisioned and begun when the Upper Church was built. We made an adjustment to the original design so as to include the 13 saints of the United States as well as saints who have had an association with the Shrine and those saints who are reflective of the peoples who visit or make pilgrimage to the Shrine.
Rossi: The goal of any pilgrimage is to leave the sacred place different than when you arrived. If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription.
Vatican City portal Catholicism portal. Ranked 8 of 1, Attractions in Washington DC. Back History. Clement XI made the feast universal in , but still did not call it the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Newman J.
Thank you for your generosity! Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter. Living in Brookland for the last year has been an incredible opportunity for me to grow in my faith because it is such a distinctly […]. Similarly, it appears that although the mosaic was planned almost a century ago, the only popes included are all post-Vatican II popes, even though Pius VI was pope when the country and national hierarchy were established, Pius X when construction of the Basilica begun, and Pius XII when the Greater Upper Church was not only begun but also finished, yet all of them are ignored and omitted.
Since the hundredth anniversary of the Basilica is set for , it is rather surprising that the dedication was accelerated to Observing the hundredth anniversary would not only allow time for the inclusion of such truly American saints as St. Fulton J. Sheen as well. Regarding the dome I understand your points. Artistic depictions are often subject to second guessing.
Pius X is well honored in the Shrine with a marvelous prayer chapel. I agree completely. They processed down the main aisle and around the church to the accompaniment of drums, and at the end of the procession, one man presented Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, who was the main celebrant of the Mass, with a tilma given to the archdiocese by the Convent of the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament in the city of Morelia in Michoacan, Mexico.
Cardinal Wuerl knelt down to kiss the image of Mary, which was hand-embroidered on the tilma by the sisters. Monica Ulloa, who was walking in the procession with her husband, Milton, had traveled to Mexico in July to see the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which she said "strikes your soul so deep. He made it a requirement for his students to attend the walk, so they "do not just learn in the classroom," but get to see faith being practiced out in the world. While they may forget what they read in their textbooks, he said, "they'll always remember this moment" of seeing people gathered to witness their faith.
Throughout the roughly two-and-one-half mile walk from the Shrine of the Sacred Heart to the basilica, many participants carried images of Mary that they brought from home or from their parish. A truck drove along with a Marian image on top, and another truck carried musicians playing music for the participants to sing along with. In between songs, participants would pray decades of the rosary together in Spanish.
The parish's pastor, Father Alain Colliou, is originally from France, and said the walk was a way to show "it doesn't matter what country we come from. Marlen Coles, the youth and evangelization coordinator at Our Lady Help of Christians, said she grew up in southern Texas, often going to processions like this one, and she saw it as "an opportunity to share our faith as we go down the streets and unite in prayer.
Maria Lam, a parishioner of Our Lady Help of Christians, moved to the United States from Guatemala seven years ago because she feared for the safety of her children. During the walk, she said she was seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe to "change the heart" of President-elect Donald Trump, so she and others did not once again have to fear for the future of their families.
During the election campaign, Trump said anyone who enters the United States illegally is subject to deportation. He also pledged to build a wall on the country's border with Mexico. Dorsonville acknowledged the concern that many people gathered for the procession were feeling, saying that it is a difficult moment in our nation's history for the immigrant community. But he reminded the thousands gathered that Jesus is always with them and his mother is always close by.
As he concluded the main portion of his homily, Bishop Dorsonville shifted to addressing those who could not understand Spanish. Speaking in English, he said: "The main message I would like to put in your hearts" is "we are ending a Year of Mercy, but that doesn't mean mercy is going to be out of our hearts. There is always a way to say, 'Yes, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace and love.
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