I was honored once again to return to DC to serve as a consultant to the USCCB Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth Committee. Please pray for the bishops who serve on this Committee, including the current Chairman, Archbishop Chaput, OFM Cap., and Chairman-elect, Archbishop Cordileone. Please also pray for the staff of the Committee and all of their important work.
I had the privilege to remain in DC for a week after the meeting, at the Washington Retreat House, across the street from the National Basilica. I was looking for a quiet place to work for the week on a writing project that would afford me little distraction and a lot of quiet. This was the perfect setting.
While there, I frequented the Basilica—perhaps my favorite church ever. It was designed by the same architect who designed many churches and religious institutions throughout the country—including another of my beloved buildings, the Campion Center in Weston, Massachusetts.
The National Basilica is a beautiful massive formidable Romanesque structure with thick walls, grand arches, wide hallways, and vaulted ceilings. It is pristine inside and out—clean, substantial, and glorious in every way. It evokes within me a feeling of God’s grandeur, strength, and never-ending, never-failing, potent love.
Approaching the Basilica and its enormity I can’t help but feel small and frail (a good reminder of my humanity) compared to its magnitude and awe-inspiring presence (a beautiful reminder of God’s divinity). It’s as if the building is saying, for God: “I came to earth. I am still here. I am not going anywhere.” Standing beside it, I feel as if my lungs want to expand to breath the expanse in but they cannot expand big enough to capture it. Inside the vast structure, I can’t help but feel enveloped in a love bigger, greater, grander than I can comprehend. Not to mention how my soul dances seeing the amazing, detailed beautiful mosaic work throughout.
The building is a site to behold. Praise God for this beautiful building, and for the amazing architects and builders who created it, and all who provide for its upkeep today. It is a gem indeed.
Photographs of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., are used with permission of the BNSIC.Tags: Bishops, US Bishops, USCCB