Over 80 Marian chapels and oratories
The shrine houses more than 80 Marian chapels and oratories which represent different cultures and peoples all over the world.
Some of the nationalities and ethnicities represented in the shrine include: African, Austrian, Chinese, Cuban, Czech, Filipino, French, German, Guamanian, Hungarian, Indian, Irish, Italian, Korean, Latin American, Lebanese, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian, and Vietnamese.
Many religious communities are also represented including: Augustinians, Carmelites, Claretians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Montfort Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Redemptorists, Salesians, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Providence, and Vincentians.
Five Landmarks that could fit in the basilica
With an interior length of 399 feet, the basilica is longer than many well known landmarks. Here are five that the basilica surpasses in length.
Sheen: Shrine a force against Communism
Venerable Fulton Sheen studied at the Catholic University of America, the home of the Shrine, and then became a professor teaching theology and philosophy. A dynamic speaker, Sheen’s words were often captured in the university’s student newspaper, the Tower.
An article from The Tower in 1953 recorded then Bishop Sheen as campaigning for the refunding of the Shrine in his capacity as a Bishop, after the more than 20 year halt.
To a television audience who would view later and a live audience of over 1,400 people in the basilica’s Crypt church, Sheen asked the people “to manifest love for God through honoring His mother by completing the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,” The Tower reported.
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Sheen pleaded with the audience to donate because “this National Shrine belongs to all Americans and everyone is interested in preserving the spiritual and moral foundation of the country,” The student paper reported.
In order to preserve the foundation, Sheen said, “one must go to God through His mother, to whom the United States is dedicated under the title of the ‘Immaculate Conception,”’ The Tower wrote.
Sheen said another reason to fundraise for the Shrine was to gain strength in order to “resist the forces of communism which can be overcome even as the serpent's head was crushed by Mary Immaculate,” The Tower reported.
Joseph Bukuras is a journalist at the Catholic News Agency. Joe has prior experience working in state and federal government, in non-profits, and Catholic education. He has contributed to an array of publications and his reporting has been cited by leading news sources, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Catholic University of America. He is based out of the Boston area.