Celebrated on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord honors Christ’s presentation in the Temple as a child. In today’s post, we invite you to virtually tour the shimmering chapel where this Joyful Mystery is portrayed in the Basilica and learn more about its significance.
The Significance of the Presentation of the Lord
Located in the West Apse of the Great Upper Church, the Presentation Chapel portrays the moment when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to God according to the law. Luke 2:22-23 tells us:
“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.’”
While they were in the Temple, they were approached by an old and righteous man named Simeon, to whom the Lord had made a promise: he would see the Savior before he died. When Simeon received Jesus, he took Him in his arms, blessed Him, and prophesied His future as Savior. Luke 2:28-32 states:
“[H]e took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
‘Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.’”
At the Temple, Mary and Joseph also met a widow and prophetess named Anna, who praised God when she saw the Infant Jesus. Just like Simeon, Anna was faithful, visiting the temple and praying often, watchfully waiting for the redemption of Israel. And like Simeon, she too was rewarded for her faithfulness, given the privilege of recognizing Jesus’ Lordship as Messiah.
Fulfilling the Old Covenant
Ultimately, the Presentation reflects how Christ fulfills the Old Covenant, serving as the foretold Messiah. This consonance is reflected in the Presentation Chapel with a portrayal of the Old Testament parallel of Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the priest and dedicating him to the Lord’s service, as described in 1 Samuel 1:24-28.
Take the Virtual Tour
Explore the chapel in immersive 360° views with our virtual tour below!
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.