Cardinal Cupich has requested that all archdiocesan parishes hold a second collection on Aug. 27 to help complete the work at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The basilica, which is located near the Catholic University of America, is the largest Catholic church in North America and is among the 10 largest churches in the world. As the 100th anniversary of the placement of the church’s foundation stone approaches in 2020, U.S. bishops have asked Catholics to donate to help finish the shrine with the completion of the Trinity Dome. Designated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a “national sanctuary of prayer and pilgrimage,” the basilica is dedicated to the patroness of the United States, the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. It is often the site for large Masses including the annual vigil held the evening before the March for Life. When Pope Francis visited America in 2015, he canonized St. Junipero Serra during an outdoor Mass next to the shrine. The basilica features an upper and lower church and more than 80 chapels and oratories that honor Mary and represent the people, cultures and traditions of the American people. Nearly a century in the making, this Marian shrine, affectionately referred to as America’s Catholic Church, has been a work in progress since the laying of its foundation stone in 1920. The Trinity Dome is the central and largest dome of the basilica. This “Crowning Jewel” is a mosaic depicting the Most Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception and a procession of saints who have an association with the United States and the shrine including St. Juan Diego (the first canonized male Native American), St. Kateri Tekakwitha (the first canonized female Native American), St. Teresa of Calcutta (an honorary American citizen), St. Frances Cabrini (the first U.S. citizen to be canonized), St. John Paul II (the first pope to visit the shrine) and St. Junípero Serra (the first canonization ever to take place on American soil). Also of interest... Facts about the mosaic • One of the largest mosaic installations of its kind in the world • Mosaic will be composed of more than 14 million tesserae (pieces) of Venetian glass • This specialized glass is handmade by only two Venetian families/companies in the world, in a tradition that is centuries old • More than 1,000 color variations of Venetian glass will be used to create the mosaic • Mosaic will cover over 18,300 square feet of the dome surface • Mosaic will weigh 48,000 lbs/24 tons • The entire Trinity Dome mosaic will be composed of over 30,000 sections • The 30,000 sections of the mosaic “puzzle” will be shipped by air and boat from Venice, Italy, to the basilica in 60 boxed crates • Artisans will install the mosaic, cementing the sections of the mosaic “puzzle” to the very precisely mapped dome • Installation will take up to eight months from delivery of the mosaic sections to the basilica The Nicene Creed will encircle the base of the dome, while the dome’s four pendentives will feature the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. During his visit to the shrine on Sept. 23, 2015, Pope Francis blessed the preliminary segment of mosaic created for the Trinity Dome containing the words of the beginning and end of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in one God.” “Amen.” For information, visit www.trinitydome.org.