Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brookland Neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Brookland lies in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C.  It is where our son Daniel and his wife Amanda now reside.  Shortly after we had arrived, on Friday, they took us on a walking tour of their neighborhood.  Brookland has been called "little Rome" by some,  for the many Catholic institutions clustered around the Catholic University of America, which is located within its borders.  In 1910 Bishop Thomas J.Shahan, rector of The Catholic University of America, suggested building a national shrine to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.  The Crypt Church (located in the lower level of the present church)  was completed in 1926.  It is pictured below.
 In 1953-54 the American Catholic Bishops renewed the effort to complete the church, and in 1959 the shrine was completed.  It is the largest Catholic church in the United States, having 70 chapels and oratories.  The shrine houses a large collection of 20th century mosaics.  The one most fascinating to me was  "Christ in Majesty" done by John de Rosen.   In the art work Christ has his left eyebrow raised, indicating judgment. His right eyebrow is lowered, showing the compassionate side of Christ.
In our walking tour of Brookland we also stopped at the church of Howard University Divinity School, founded in 1867.  We were given to understand that the edifice was once owned by the Catholic Church.
It is an unusual building with tall figures of saints adorning the outside walls.  I have one last institution in Brookland to mention, that of Colonel Brooks Tavern.  The neighborhood of Brookland sits on what use to be his farm estate in the mid 1800s, and he is honored for that distinction with his portrait hung above the bar.  Unfortunately as of Saturday the tavern is now closed.  We had a wonderful meal there that day. 

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