"James Joseph Sexton, a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, set out on pilgrimage in 1920 to a Marian shrine that didn’t yet exist. His destination was Washington, D.C., where construction would soon begin on the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Like many pilgrims, he brought with him an offering of faith and devotion, albeit one heavier than most: a 3.3-ton piece of granite, the first building block of what would become the largest Roman Catholic church in North America.
A member of St. James Council 2370 in Stratford, Conn., Sexton donated the foundation stone and personally delivered it for the dedication ceremony Sept. 23, 1920. It was one of the earliest of many K of C pilgrimages and contributions over the past century to what is now the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception."
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Written by Geraldine M. Rohling and Columbia staff