CV NEWS FEED // Looking for road trip inspiration as the summer winds down? You won’t have to leave the country as these five beautiful shrines and basilicas are among America’s own vast expanse of holy destinations.
So plan a solo trip or bring the whole family, and experience the riches of our faith and Catholic heritage displayed throughout our nation.
This sacred spot is a must-see for every American as it is affectionately known as “America’s Catholic Church.” Not only is it the largest Roman Catholic Church nationwide (and among the top 10 in the world), this basilica was built by generations of faithful American Catholics beginning in 1920.
The basilica is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which Our Blessed Mother has been named patroness of the United States under this title. Built in the Romanesque and Byzantine styles, the shrine features 80 chapels dedicated to various Marian titles from around the world. Ultimately, the National Shrine encapsulates the beauty of America’s “melting pot” with the Church’s universality.
This National Shrine is a unique destination because it is constructed over the site where several of the North American Martyrs shed their blood for Christ while on mission to the Native Americans – Sts. Isaac Jogues, René Goupil and Jean Lalande.
While simple in its construction, the main church is fashioned to resemble the Roman Colosseum where so many early Christians were brutally killed for their faith. One can walk in the footsteps of the saints as the shrine’s expansive outdoor grounds were built over the village of Ossernenon where the Jesuit missionaries served and, years later, St. Kateri Tekawitha was born (bonus: her shrine is nearby in Fonda, NY).
If you’re looking for a place to rest in the presence of our Eucharistic King while surrounded by beauty and quiet, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful option. Built by EWTN’s foundress, Mother Angelica, the shrine serves as both a sanctuary of pilgrimage and a Poor Clare monastery in northern Alabama.
Much of the perpetual adoration shrine is modeled after the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, bringing a taste of Italian Renaissance architecture. Among the shrine’s 400 acres of grounds, pilgrims can walk view spaces such as a replica of the Grotto in Lourdes, France, and an interactive learning center dedicated to the Holy Eucharist.
Built in 1978 to spread devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in the United States, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima seeks to provide a place to encounter the Blessed Mother’s message of prayer and conversion. This primarily outdoor shrine offers opportunities to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary while learning about the Fatima apparitions.
On the 13th of every month, the shrine hosts a large Mass and rosary procession to commemorate Our Lady of Fatima’s visits on these days in 1917. Also on the grounds is a scale replica of the Holy House in Loreto, Italy, where the Holy Family once lived, with stones from the original house mixed into the replica’s mortar.
Marytown is considered to be the third “City of the Immaculate” envisioned by 20th century saint and martyr St. Maximilian Kolbe. The beautiful chapel is dedicated to promoting devotion to the Blessed Mother and providing perpetual adoration.
The national shrine stands out as it also contains some of the only relics that exist from St. Maximilian, as his remains were incinerated after his martyrdom in the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. While the shrine’s Holocaust museum does evoke a more solemn atmosphere, the storyof the saint’s gift of self and his efforts to evangelize through mass media provides an uplifting and inspiring encounter with a holy hero.
Love travel? Here are America’s most beautiful churches to visit!