RECTOR: The Rev. Msgr. Walter R. Rossi
SERVICE LENGTH: 50 minutes
ALTAR BOYS: 5
SAMPLE WORSHIPPER DRESS: An untucked pearl-snap cowboy shirt, khaki pants, and work boots
DEREK JETER JERSEYS: 1
CRYING TODDLERS: 3
Arriving at the Basilica, visitors snap pictures and pose with family, as if taking in just another one of the District’s many sights. “As a result of being in the nation’s capital, we get a number of visitors. [But] it wasn’t built to be a tourist attraction,” says Peter Sonski, the Basilica’s director of communications.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
The Rev. Andrew J. Fisher opened the homily one recent Sunday with a quote from Mother Teresa: “‘If you ever want to make God laugh, you should tell God the way you think things should be done.’” Fisher then told the story of two sons in a vineyard. A father asks the first son to go to the vineyard and work the land. The first son says yes but doesn’t go. The second son says no but ultimately goes. Fisher asks, “Which one was the faithful son?”
FOOD FOR THE BODY
No food or drinks were on hand other than Communion. A cafeteria, which serves everything from Italian cuisine to meatloaf, is located on the church grounds but closes at 3 p.m. on Sundays.
OVERALL WORSHIP POWER RATING
With six services every day, the Basilica provides Mass for the masses. To handle so much worship, the church offers some corporate trappings: Fisher, part of a six-member pastoral staff, forwarded a reporter’s queries to the Basilica public-relations department. “We are first and foremost a church, a pilgrimage church for prayer, recollection, and spiritual renewal,” says Sonski. “As a result, we try to have Masses throughout the day that people can participate in, whatever their schedule may be.”
Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery.