Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 16 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Bernadette Soubirous
home iconTravel
line break icon

What’s the biggest Catholic church in the United States?

AgnosticPreachersKid | CC

Daniel Esparza - published on 08/09/17

Nope, it’s not St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

When you enter the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of the Catholic University of America, you have the impression that you are not in the US, but in Ravenna, Italy. Dedicated to the patroness of the United States, this basilica located in the capital of the country, Washington, DC, is also the largest Catholic church in the United States, and one of the ten largest Catholic churches in the whole world.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Construction of the church began in 1920, although since the birth of the United States as a nation independent of the British Empire the country had been consecrated to the Immaculate Conception. Moreover, from about 1792 onward, the construction of a national church dedicated to this Marian patronage was already dreamed of. But it was not until 1913 when the fourth president of the Catholic University of America formally proposed the construction of the basilica to Pope Pius X. And so, the first funds for construction were finally received.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Although the first Mass was celebrated in the basilica back in 1959, the building is not is still not finished. Work continues, as it did on the great medieval cathedrals, over the decades. At present the splendid mosaic work under the Trinity dome is being completed. You can appreciate the beauty of the basilica’s existing mosaics in this slideshow:

Tags:
ArtChurchTravel
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.