Yesterday's Lenten station Mass was celebrated on the Esquiline Hill at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a church built by Pope Liberius at the request of Our Lady.
The rising sun illuminated the facade of this magnificent structure beautifully:
If you've ever experienced a Roman summer (which make Midwestern summers seem cool by comparison), you'll be able to understand the great wonder of a snowfall atop the hill on August 5, 352 and admit, with Pope Liberius, that it must be a miracle.
When setting out to build the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Bishop James Aloysius Griffin looked to the interior of this basilica for his model:
The apse of the basilica is decorated with splendid mosaics:
The greatest of this church's treasures, a relic of the manger in which Our Lady placed Our Lord Jesus Christ after his birth, is enshrined in the confessio beneath the altar:
Also housed in this church is a striking statute of Our Lady, Queen of Peace: