Religion: U.S. Catholic Shrine

In Washington this week, more than 200 Roman Catholic cardinals, archbishops and bishops will dedicate the largest Catholic church in the U.S.

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a vast Romanesque-Byzantine tribute to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of U.S. Roman Catholics. The idea of building it was first broached in 1912 by Bishop Thomas J. Shahan, fourth rector of the Catholic University, who lies buried in the new shrine's south crypt. He received a blessing for the project (and $400) from Pope Pius X, and in 1920 the cornerstone was laid at the site in northeast Washington,...

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