Sept 27, 2012

by NOELLE WRIGHT
TOWER Editor in Chief

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Bethany and West Liberty students (photo by Shirley Carter)

Bethany students traveled to Washingotn, D.C. last weekend to attend a gathering at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They were accompanied by Shirley Carter, Catholic campus minister, Msgr. Paul Hudock, campus chaplain, students from West Liberty University, and pilgrims from throughout the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The Basilica is the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, and the fourth largest in the world, as well as the primary Marian Shrine in the United States. It contains over 70 chapels, and combines Byzantine, Romanesque and contemporary style in its art and architecture. "The church was simply breathtaking," says Sydney Basil.

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 Upper Church (photo by Noelle Wright)

 

The day's activities included two of several faith-based lectures, a recitation of the Rosary in the lower level Crypt Church, and Mass in the Great Upper Church celbrated by Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Wheeling Charleston diocese. "Individually," says Carter, "it was a time to take in the beauty of the shrine and tour the grounds... communally, it was a time to gather in prayer, worship, and song."

One of the most notable aspects of the pilgrimage was the blending of various ethnicities, languages, age groups, and backgrounds. That synthesis was symbolically represented by the diverse depictions of Mary throughout the basilica which relate to the many cultures represented within the faith. Says Carter, "The unity of mind and spirit was celebrated and displayed by the obvious diversity among those gathered.  I am so pleased that students from Bethany College were able to share in this day."

 

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Carter and students with Bishop Bransfield (photo by Paul Hudock)

 

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