National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Place I Face God In America

Posted by Jeneba Project on Saturday, January 11, 2014 Under: Pictures

One of my favourite places in Washington DC is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at the Catholic University of America (CUA). Every time I enter the Shrine, it feels as though God resides there. I try to visit the Shrine whenever I am in Washington DC for reflection and introspection. That is where I go to clean the mental slate and press the reset knob of my mind. Since the Shrine is devoted to Mary the mother of Christ, I always get the comfort one gets from being in the company of one’s mother when life seems to be swinging in the wind like a lowly coconut tree facing the force of a hurricane.

I first visited the National Shrine in 2006 when I spent some part of the summer at CUA as a Green Peace-Seventh Generation fellow. When I eventually moved to DC as a Lantos Fellow in 2009, I used to walk up there from New York Ave. for quiet reflections and prayer. Mary is a very prominent figure in the Catholic tradition and I grew up reciting creeds to her. Even though I am not the regular church-goer I used to be, whenever I am at the Shrine surrounded by the various chapels from all over the world devoted to Mary, I pray quietly:

Hail Mary
Full of Grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou amongst women
And Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus
Holy Mary Mother of God
Pray for us sinnersNow and the hour of our death 

Whether by sheer coincidence or providence, I was fortunate that last year the DC Bar Examiners decided to conduct the DC Bar Exam, which I took, at CUA. Being very nervous about the bar, I used to visit the shrine during exam breaks and pray beneath the image of Christ above the altar where it is written: I will send an advocate. Personally, I know that it is written in the scriptures: Ask and you shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto thee.

I had been planning to see my dear friend Katie (Tatyana) who is now preparing to face the bar. I told her my story and she offered to visit the shrine with me. I don’t think she anticipated 9 a.m. or frozen rain, but we braved it and visited the Shrine together. It was very pleasant to share this piece of Godly presence with my friend, and I pray the lord to be with her throughout her studies and make her the advocate she wants to be.

Below are some photos from the Shrine, but one has to visit the dozens of internal chapels to absorb the various expressions of human diversity and the divinity of Mary-the Immaculate Conception.

In : Pictures 

Tags: "national shrine ""joseph kaifala" 
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KATEHUN KATEHUN (pronounced Ka-te-hun)-is a Mende word for a symposium or community center where disputes are settled. Everyone is permitted to make his/her case before a presiding chief in an open forum. On this forum, I write primarily for those who stand committed to the Rule of Law in Africa and to the value that our future is better determined by the government of the people, by the people, and in service for the people. To advance the African value of Ubuntu through International Law and the Principles of a United Nations, which propels us towards Life in Larger Freedom.
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