For centuries, the faithful have looked to Our Lady of Hungary in times of need, seeking her intercession and special graces. Here at the Basilica, the Blessed Mother is honored under this title in the Our Lady of Hungary Chapel, which was dedicated on August 29, 2015. As we celebrate the eighth anniversary of its dedication this year, we invite you to learn more about the history and design of this chapel and reflect on a prayer to Our Lady of Hungary.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Hungary
In 2006, Péter Cardinal Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and President of the Hungarian Episcopal Conference, petitioned the Basilica to establish a chapel in honor of Our Lady of Hungary and Saint Stephen. Thanks to the generosity of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Hungarian Government, and Hungarian-Americans, the Chapel of Our Lady of Hungary was built, becoming the Basilica’s second chapel to be funded by the support of a country outside the United States.
All the marble and stone used for the altar, walls, and floor of the chapel is from Hungary and pays homage to the nation in some fashion. The Hungarian Tardos marbled altar in the chapel is modeled after the main altar of the Basilica of Saint Stephen in Budapest, which is Hungary’s largest church. To the right of the entrance is a first-class relic of St. Stephen, King of Hungary (A.D. 977-1038) and the patron saint of Hungary. The focal point of the chapel is a mosaic of Our Lady of Hungary, surrounded by the Hungarian saints.
A sculpture of the coat of arms of Hungary is found above the chapel’s doorway, with the words: “Our Lady Of Hungary, Pray For Us” written beneath it. The reliefs flanking either side of the chapel in Botticino marble depict significant events in the life of St. Stephen: his anointment as king (left) and his offering of his Crown to the Blessed Virgin on the day of his passing in August 1038 (right).
Incised in the interior entrance walls is the following text, written in English on the left, and Hungarian on the right:
“Blessed Mother, great old patron of ours, in our distress does our homeland implore you.
Forget not Hungary, our sweet homeland. Forget not the Hungarians.”
A Prayer to Our Lady of Hungary
We invite you to reflect upon the following prayer featured in the Our Lady of Hungary Chapel:
“O God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you have given innumerable graces to our nation. Following the decree and tradition of our first King, Saint Stephen, we honor Mary, as our Queen and Patroness on earth. Grant that we may also have eternal joy with her in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Rohling, Geraldine M., PhD, MAEd. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: Guide and Tour Book. Washington, D.C.: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 2018.
Light a Candle at the Basilica
In honor of Our Lady of Hungary, we invite you to light a candle today at the National Shrine. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Great Upper church and lower crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.