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Road Trip

A Post-Pope 'Keep the Faith' Tour in D.C.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

WHERE: Brookland in Northeast Washington.

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WHY: Pope Benedict XVI was here, the life of John Paul II and holy spirits (and beer and wine).

HOW FAR: About four miles.

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI graced Washington with a much-heralded visit. If you missed His Holiness or can't jet off to Italy, head instead to Brookland, the area's "Little Vatican."

The Northeast Washington neighborhood was once farmland and home to Bellair, the 1840 Greek Revival mansion built by Col. Jehiel Brooks. In 1887, the Catholic Church bought a parcel of land on which to build Catholic University of America, the only college in the United States under the direct patronage of the Vatican. An area building spree followed: Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) opened in 1897, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land was dedicated in 1899 and construction of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception began in 1920 (it is still going on). By World War II, the community featured 60 Catholic facilities and a sizable Irish Catholic population. And now Brookland can proudly add another papal pit stop to its résumé.

-- SA Kalinich and Tony Glaros

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