The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a prominent Roman Rite Catholic basilica located in Washington D.C.,U.S.A.,honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception,the principal Patroness of the USA.
The shrine is the largest Catholic church in the United States and North America,one of the ten largest churches in the world,and the tallest habitable building in Washington,D.C.
Construction of this church, notable for its Neo-Byzantine architecture, began in 1920 under Philadelphia contractor John McShain.It opened unfinished in 1959 and currently host an estimated one million pilgrims each year.
The shrine hosted Popes John Paul II,who designated the National Shrine as a Minor Basilica on 10/12/1990;Benedict XVI,who bestowed the honor of a Golden Rose on the basilica on 4/16/2008; and Francis ,when he celebrated Mass on the east steps for the canonization of Junipero Serra,O.F.M. on 9/23/2015.
The Basilica does not have its own parish community, but serves the adjacent Catholic University of America which donated the land for its construction, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,and host numerous Masses for various organizations of the Church from across the United States/
The rector of the shrine is the Monsignor Walter R. Rossi,who holds a Licentiate of Canon Law.
The basilica is on Michigan Avenue in the northeast quadrant of Washington.It is served by Brookland-CUA Metro Station on the Red Line,roughly 0.3 miles away.