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From Washington to the Vatican – Pic of the Week

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In the days before summer, I am reflecting on the final days of spring. Springtime is one of my favorite times of year in the District, mainly due to the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom at the end of every March. One of my favorite spots to visit the cherry blossom trees during peak bloom is the area surrounding the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Photograph of half of a pink, blooming cherry blossom tree in the foreground on the right, in front of a blurred out side view of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The sky above is a clear, bright blue.
Image of a cherry blossom tree in peak bloom outside of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Brookland, Washington, D.C. Photograph by Bailey DeSimone

Just after cherry blossom season, I spent some time in Rome, Italy. There, I explored some of the Italian capital’s historical buildings, including St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Photograph of the interior of the St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. Taken from the floor, this photo aims upward, taking in the tall side colums, the interior of the main dome, and the top of the shrine in the middle of the ground floor. The decorations are in gold, and two color mosaics depicting saints flank the top of the shrine on either wall. Three different arched hallways are visible beneath the main dome.
Photograph of the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. Photograph by Bailey DeSimone.

I was surprised to learn that, on the floor of the main hall of the basilica, the names of Catholic churches around the world are inscribed in gold. Additionally, the length of the church, in meters, is included, so that visitors can see how large these churches are in comparison to St. Peter’s – the largest Catholic church in the world. From the inscription, we can see that the length of the National Shrine is 139.14 meters, or about 465.5 feet long, compared to the 186.36 meters (611.45 feet) of St. Peter’s. It was a wonderful experience seeing a bit of home overseas while touring this beautiful building.

Photograph of the floor of St. Peter's Basilica, showing gold lettering on the white marble. The lettering spells out "Sanctvarivm Immacvlatae Concept. Washington. M. 139.14." It is surrounded by copper and black marble tiles.
Photograph of the floor of St. Peter’s Basilica, indicating where the National Shrine stands in relation to the size of the basilica. Photograph by Bailey DeSimone.

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Comments (2)

  1. Finding the name of your church in the basilica floor must have been so special. I didn’t know they were there either – thank you for that – I somehow feel a new connection to Rome.

  2. It’s an interesting post!
    I never realized that (Catholic) churches included their dimensions; I only knew about the cornerstones and the date the churches were created.

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