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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why I Love DC, and Kites!!!!!!!

One thing that's great about the Nation's Capitol is the fact you never know what may happen.  I went to town with no idea what would be going on on the National Mall, and ended up in the middle of the Blossom Kite Festival, part of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  

I've never seen so many different types of kites, and so many people flying them so closely.  I did see a few lines get tangled, but they just kept flying!

Even dogs seem to enjoy kites!
Well, it WAS Easter-time.........

Kites just seem to have a way of turning grown-ups into kids!!!

I discovered two princesses, right there on the Mall!!!!!
This kid was playing catch with his mom, surrounded by kites!
Baby's first Easter.

Can't wait to see what the next visit holds!!!!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Visit to The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

I recently paid a visit to one of the largest cathedrals in the world.  I had been to Washington D.C.'s National Cathedral so I expected something like that.  Although there are similarities, this one was quite different. 

In 1913, Pope Pius IX approved the construction of a National Shrine to honor The Virgin Mary.  As a result, on September 23, 1920, building commenced in Washington D.C., with the laying of the first stone of what would be the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  Construction would intermittently halt over the next several decades due to deaths, wars and the Great Depression but, on November 20, 1959, the National Shrine was finally dedicated.

The interior is huge with a total capacity of 6000. 

One of over 70 small chapels in the building.
The National Shrine  contains the world’s largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art.

Our visit was the day before Easter and we had choir practice music to enjoy as we toured.  I think they were singing in Latin or Italian.  I don't  speak ether so I could be wrong.
Staff were busy unpacking and positioning flowers for the Easter Service. 
Huge pipe organ.
Pope Benedict XVI visited here on April 16, 2008, on his first visit to the US. Pope John Paul II was the first reigning Pope to visit, on October 7, 1979.
Pope Benedict XVIs chair
Pope Benedict XVI. 
As we looked over the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a gentleman came over and explained the metal lines streaming down represent manna from Heaven.  I later found the picture below of the same area I was standing.
Pope Benedict XVI  in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
This is African Jesus on the Cross in the Our Mother of Africa Chapel.
African Mother and African Jesus.
Fleur de lis' were prominent in the architecture and art.
This stone is off to the side in the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel.
Reading the inscription reveals its history.   This was amazing!!
Some of the mosaics were kinda terrifying!  This one is called "Christ in Majesty."  This is one of the largest mosaic images of Jesus Christ in the world and contains more than 4000 shades and colors.
"The Woman Clothed with the Sun."
And some were VERY terrifying!!!!  This one is "The Last Judgment."
The Basilica is the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, and is one of the ten largest churches in the world.  The Cathedral's architecture is Romanesque-Byzantine and it is construction entirely of stone, brick, tile and mortar— with no steel structural beams, framework or columns.

The "Great Dome" is 108 feet in diameter. 
Knights Tower.