Discover the rich history of America’s Catholic Church
The History and Heritage of America’s Catholic Church
The United States has long been considered the great melting pot, where people from many diverse lands have come to dwell. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is proud to reflect this rich heritage of America.
Home to more than 80 chapels and oratories honoring the Mother of God and representing peoples from every corner of the globe, the National Shrine reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the United States and the unity and universality of the Catholic Church.
Built by generations of faithful American Catholics to honor the patroness of our nation—the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception — the National Shrine is affectionately referred to as America’s Catholic Church.
Among the nationalities and ethnicities represented throughout the Basilica are African, Austrian, Chinese, Cuban, Czech, Filipino, French, German, Guamanian, Hungarian, Indian, Irish, Italian, Korean, Latin American, Lebanese, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian, and Vietnamese.
Religious communities from around the world are also represented, including the Augustinians, Carmelites, Claretians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Montfort Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Redemptorists, Salesians, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Providence, and Vincentians.