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Catholic road trips: Summer’s not over yet

Our Lady of La Leche

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Zelda Caldwell - published on 08/10/21

There is still time to take an inspired and inspiring pilgrimage.

From graduations, to weddings, to family vacations, many plans have had to be put on hold or modified due to the coronavirus pandemic. The silver lining is that when it comes to taking time off with family, more and more people are experiencing the joys of more spontaneous and serendipitous travel.

For Catholic travelers in the United States and Canada, there’s still time to hit the road to take in any of North America’s many historic shrines and churches. It might just be the most memorable — and inspiring— vacation ever.

So fill up the car with gas, and make arrangements for a neighbor to feed your cat and water your plants. It’s time for a family “pilgrimication.” Here are a few ideas for churches or shrines to visit this summer:

California

Why not stop at a mission (or more than one) along El Camino Real (the route known as “the King’s Highway” that connects California’s 21 Spanish missions).

Learn more about taking a walking pilgrimage here:

Florida

If you are anywhere near St. Augustine, Florida, you’ll want to visit the oldest Marian shrine in the United States. Learn more about the Mission of the Name of God, dedicated to Our Lady of the Milk:

Massachusetts

Most people usually think of the Old North Church, where the signal “One if by land, two if by sea” is said to have been sent during the Revolutionary War. But thanks to the large population of Irish immigrants, Boston is also home to many historic, beautiful Catholic churches. Plan a trip to Beantown now:

The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts amid the Berkshire Mountains. Visitors can participate in the life of the shrine, which is run by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, the official promoters of the Divine Mercy message. Holy Hour, Mass, the Rosary are all open to visitors. Learn more about the shrine here:

New York

New York, like Massachusetts, has a rich Catholic history, thanks to its immigrant population. One could spend a week in the city, visiting historic churches, shrines and museums. Here’s an itinerary to get you started:

Texas

If you don’t mind the heat, a great family vacation would be a pilgrimage to the Alamo and the Catholic missions of San Antonio. Read more about the missions here:

The South

These churches and pilgrimage sites in the American South are well worth the visit and would make a memorable trip.

The heartland of America

Add these awe-inspiring churches to your bucket list.

Canada

And finally, if the cooler weather isn’t already enough of a draw, these Catholic shrines make Canada an ideal destination for a family trip.

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