“It is a dramatic honor for Mary, in that the Shrine is dedicated in her name,” Father Henry said. “It highlights that she is the mother of the church – the universal mother – which is perfectly captured in Mary, Queen of the Universe.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary has a special place in the faith life of Catholics and we honor Her in many ways and seek her intercession for us before God.
“In the very heart of the Catholic story is Mary; there is an instant connection,” Father Henry added. “That is what draws people to the Shrine. It is a home that has been created and dedicated to Mary, and is a place to celebrate our faith. Mary’s core vocation and mission is to bring people to Christ.”
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe provides many ways for visitors to grow closer to Christ through Mary – visually and spiritually. The Shrine highlights Mary on many days, including the Feast of the Holy Rosary on Oct. 7 and the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 22, and provides musical tributes to her during Christmas concerts. Each Monday, visitors pray the Novena.
Marian images throughout the shrine invite visitors to prayer and reflection. The Basilica’s 14 aisle windows depict the story of God’s love for man, and Mary’s place in God’s plan for salvation. Outside the Basilica are an outdoor chapel, which features a bronze sculpture of the Mother and Christ, a courtyard, and a garden in the design of a rosary. One can walk the rosary’s many stones, or beads, or follow the Stations of the Cross.
“The rosary is meant to invite us to journey through the mysteries of our faith,” Father Henry said. “To be able to walk it is a healing and deeply spiritually thing to do. It puts us in the presence of the divine.”
Father Henry added that the Shrine isn’t only for tourists; it is also for locals. “It is the most wonderful asset available to people, and so convenient to them,” Father Henry said. “We have people that come here regularly, as a place to have quiet, a mini-retreat, a place to pray. Jesus went off to a quiet place to pray. People need to do it in the most urgent way.”