December 26, 2012

Project DC: Basilica of the National Shrine

Wintertime in DC usually isn't too cold, but recently for about a week we had bad gray, foggy, damp weather that made me feel tired and sluggish. Last week we finally got a beautiful, sunny, slightly warm day that was perfect for walking around and feeling revitalized. What better time to peruse my Project DC list?

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (what a name!) is the largest Catholic church in the United States and the eighth-largest religious structure in the world, and it's right here in DC. I had passed by it before and always meant to go inside, but since I was always in a rush to get somewhere, the time never seemed right. However, when we finally got a glimpse of sunshine last week, I decided to finally check it out.




I knew that the Basilica was huge, but being inside made me feel its enormity even more. There are beautiful mosaics everywhere, and the chapels that line the sides are peaceful and lovely. I can imagine how people could feel connected to a higher power in such a striking space, and as I took my time exploring the Basilica's interior, I have to admit that I got chills.








One of my favorite things about these spaces are the candles. I love the idea of lighting a candle to pay tribute to somebody or to say a prayer. It is such a simple act, yet so beautiful with its simplicity.





I could definitely see myself going back to the Basilica for some quiet reflection. As I've written here before, I'm not a religious person, but I think that spiritual spaces can be very powerful and very meaningful. The Basilica is definitely one of those places. All in all, this was a great experience, and I look forward to continuing to discover DC's treasures. 

***

Want to read more about having fun in DC? Follow along as I embark on Project DC:

1. Go to the Air and Space Museum.
2. Go for a leisurely hike in Rock Creek Park.
3. Go on a White House tour.
4. Buy DC artwork at Eastern Market.
5. Visit Old Town on a day trip.
6. Take a day trip to Annapolis.
7. Go to the Newseum.
8. Go back to Jazz in the Garden when it starts up again in the spring.
9. Go to the Holocaust Museum.
10. Eat at Ben's Chili Bowl.
11. See the FDR Memorial.
12. Take the hubs to the Lincoln Memorial.
13. Go to the National Portrait Gallery.
14. Go to the Corcoran.
15. Visit the Vietnam Memorial.
16. Go inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
17. Go to more embassy events.
18. See a show at Rock & Roll Hotel.
19. See the drum circle at Malcolm X Park.
20. Mini golf at H Street Country Club.
21. Evening drinks at POV.