As Christmas celebrations began, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. extended an invitation to all the faithful to take a virtual tour of its Joyful Mysteries Chapels.

“Virtually tour the Joyful Mysteries Chapels, celebrating the jubilance of the Messiah’s birth and early life!”, the basilica tweeted on December 25th.

Located within the church sanctuary, the five adjacent chapels depict the five joyful mysteries of the rosary: The Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Finding in the Temple. Each chapel is adorned with vibrant, glittering mosaics that tell the story of its respective mystery, accompanied by a parallel scene from the Old Testament.

The Annunciation Chapel, for instance, illustrates the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will give birth to the Son of God. The Old Testament scene beneath shows Moses and the burning bush, when Moses is charged with freeing his people.

In the Visitation Chapel, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is also miraculously pregnant. The Old Testament parallel beneath shows Obed-Edom welcoming the Ark of the Covenant into his home. The Nativity Chapel depicts the birth of Jesus with the Magi and shepherds present, while the Old Testament parallel shows Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s virgin birth.

The Presentation Chapel shows Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem, as required by Old Testament law. The parallel beneath illustrates Hannah presenting Samuel to the Lord. And in the Finding in the Temple Chapel, the mosaics depict Mary and Joseph searching for Jesus, only to find him conversing with the elders in the temple. The Old Testament parallel shows Daniel speaking with the elders of his time.

For those unable to visit in person, the basilica offers a free, immersive virtual tour on its website:

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and one of the 10 largest churches in the world. Designated as a national sanctuary of pilgrimage and prayer by the U.S. bishops, it has welcomed visitors such as Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, St. John Paul II, and St. Teresa of Calcutta.

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