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Washington DC Photo Gallery Midnight Mass at the...

Midnight Mass at the National Shrine

Pilgrims from across the Nation attended Midnight Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Schotte, Special Envoy of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, was the Mass celebrant. "Dear brothers and sisters, today we should revive and strengthen our resolve to be faithful and to express unabashedly, our acceptance of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It belongs to our catholic faith; it is an essential part of our Catholic identity. We cannot call ourselves true sons and daughters of the Catholic Church if we do not commit ourselves to a true devotion to the Blessed Mother."

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Preparation of the Altar. Most Reverand Gabriel Montalvo, Most Reverand Michael J. Bransfield, and Reverand Monsignor Walter R. Rossi prepare the altar and the gifts, prays over the bread and wine, and helps the assembly get ready for the tremendous Sacrifice that will take place in an unbloody manner.

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Prayer over the Gifts. The center and high point of the Mass that makes Christ present for us in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. During it, the entire assembly joins Christ in acknowledging the works of God and in the offering of Sacrifice.

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The detail last judgement Mosaic in the West transept.

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Organist Richard Fitzgerald performs a Communion Carol.

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Corner view of the Goulding and Wood Pipe Organ located in the South Gallery of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Total Pipes: 8,237 (Gallery) 3,237 (Chancel)

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Chandelier hangs over the National Shrine congregation.

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National Shrine arches are characteristic of the Romanasque archecture.

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The poetically inclined define the National Shrine as a majestic "hymn in stone.

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For Catholics Communion is the act of participating in the celebration of the Eucharist and commemorating Jesus Christ's Last Supper.

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Recessional

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His Excellency - Most Reverend Gabriel Montalvo - Titular Archbishop of Celene - Apostolic Nuncio to the United States was the Celebrant and Homilist.

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The entire carving and the diamond bookmatching stonework below it are Botticino Classico. Among the largest bas relief carvings in the world, this piece measures 52 feet long by 15 feet, 4 inches high -- approximately 780 square feet in area -- and weighs more than 37 tons.

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Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Newton Leroy Gingrich, smiles after attending Christmas Service at the Shrine. In 1995 Mr. Gingrich was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year. Merry Christmas Mr. Speaker.

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is numbered among the ten largest churches in the world. It measures a total of 459 feet long and covers an area of 77,500 square feet. The height of the nave, from the marble floor to the apex of the central dome is ten stories.

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