Cardinal Wuerl Dedicates the Recently-Completed Mosaic Adorning the Central Dome of the Largest Catholic Church in the United States

Friday, December 8, 2017

Trinity Dome marks the completion of the National Shrine that began in 1920

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass today at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joined by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect for the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life at the Vatican, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and 23 archbishops and bishops, and nearly 90 priests from across the United States, the newly completed mosaic of the Trinity Dome was dedicated during the Mass.

The Trinity Dome marks the completion of the work of the National Shrine that began in 1920. Pope Francis blessed the first segment of mosaic fabricated for the Trinity Dome containing the beginning and the end of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in one God,” and “Amen” during his apostolic visit to Washington in 2015.

“This magnificent tribute in stone, glass, marble and mosaic to Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of God and our Mother, invites all of us to recognize not only the special role of Mary in our life but the unique glory that is hers in her Immaculate Conception,” said Cardinal Wuerl in his homily, referencing the basilica structure which is the largest Catholic Church in North America.

The cardinal spoke of how several bishops assembled in 1846 and chose the Blessed Mother to be the patroness of the United States under the title of her Immaculate Conception. Calling her the supreme model of what our faith should be, the cardinal said, “Like us, Mary was a human being who had to be open to hear and accept God’s word and to grasp the mysterious ways in which God works. She did so with such consummate fidelity that she is forever the example of what we mean by faith — true, profound faith.”

“My brothers and sisters, when we look at this great Trinity Dome and see the myriad tiles in so much color coming together to realize this extraordinary work of art, we are reminded that here in the pews of this National Shrine, our nation’s Marian House, we see a similar phenomenon this time in living stone – the living members who make up the Body of Christ,” said Cardinal Wuerl. We only have to look out across the thousands who gather for Mass at the basilica each week to see face of the world. “Just as there are chapels throughout this Basilica reflecting national heritages, ethnic backgrounds, all proclaiming in unison ‘Hail Mary,’ so, too, do we look across this great Church of God and see out of so many one great faith family.”

After the homily, Cardinal Farrell, who had been appointed as the special envoy for the Trinity Dome dedication by Pope Francis this past October read a special message from the Holy Father. The Trinity Dome was blessed with incense and for the first time, all of the lights in the dome were lit to show the completed mosaic containing fourteen million glass tiles that were meticulously installed as the “crown jewel” of the basilica.

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