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It is accomplished: Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception finally completed

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It happened, fittingly, on Friday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

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The largest Catholic church in North America is now complete.

After 100 years of construction, thousands of worshippers Friday witnessed the blessing of 24 tons of Venetian glass that embellish the dome of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Called the “Trinity Dome,” the glass mosaic is the final architectural element of the church, a shrine to Mary which sits next to the Catholic University of America and is visited by nearly 1 million people a year.

A 10-minute procession of cardinals, bishops, and priests preceded the two-hour ceremony and Mass to mark the dedication of the dome.

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl who celebrated the Mass called the basilica a “modern-day masterpiece.” Faith, he said, was the reason why so many people, for so many years, sacrificed to finish the church.

“Mary believed that nothing is impossible with God,” Wuerl said in his homily. “She is the supreme model of what it means to believe.”

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For those who missed it, the full ceremony is below.

Deacon Greg Kandra
The Deacon's Bench
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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