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Basilica of the National Shrine Decks the Halls

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Volunteers help to decorate the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. (credit: Cameron Thompson/All-News 99.1)

Volunteers help to decorate the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. (credit: Cameron Thompson/All-News 99.1)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — More than 120 volunteers spent Wednesday night decorating the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. in preparation for next week’s Christmas masses.

The historic church is now dressed to impress for one of the largest Catholic-led Christmas celebrations in the country, with four manger scenes, 51 live trees, more than 500 poinsettias and 65,000 lights, according to the Basilica’s Facebook page.

PHOTOS: VOLUNTEERS DRESS UP THE BASILICA

The decades-old tradition will feature globally-televised masses on Christmas Day and masses on Christmas Eve.

One volunteer at the church told WNEW’s Cameron Thompson that once the decorating is finished, the real wonder begins.

“You see tourists throughout the holiday season with tears in their eyes. How fortunate are we — who live in the area — who get to see this and participate in this all year?” she said.

The Christmas display will be open to the public daily from Dec. 20th to Jan. 12th, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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WNEW’s Cameron Thompson contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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