10 Pilgrimages in America

America’s pilgrimages for All

Pilgrimages in America is a detailed article that proves Pilgrims and casual tourists alike find inspiration, comfort, and tranquillity at the various Catholic and non-religious sites around the country.

Catholic pilgrimages in America
Catholic pilgrimages in America

Some are located in huge towns, others in calm rural surroundings.

The majority of the shrines provide guided tours as well as Masses.

They might have a museum, a restaurant, a cafe, or a retreat centre.

If you are grieving, healing, or simply missing something spiritual, you may find the sacred in every step if you look, whether you are taking a walk in your backyard or hiking up a mountain.

We yearn to discover what is already within us, and once it is discovered, every place we visit will be sacred as well. We hope you can visit some of the sacred sites in this story, or discover your own when the time is right.

Marvel at the majesty of God’s creation in the Grand Canyon

Not all pilgrimages must conclude with us bowing in front of a shrine—the sheer magnificence of God’s creation can lead us to our knees.

The Grand Canyon is one of those natural wonders that has been carved by a river into an honoured treasure that attracts millions of visitors each year.

Solo adventures have their place in our world, but some adventures are best shared. Rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable experience.

Grand Canyon NP-Arizona-USA
Grand Canyon NP-Arizona-USA

It offers an opportunity to encounter God’s grace amid God’s workmanship.

The strenuous river excursion allows you to examine inward while simultaneously reaching out to people around you.

Be confident that the experience will be completely different from that on the rim.

Contemplate Kentucky with Thomas Merton

Visit Bellarmine University, a Catholic university on the outskirts of Louisville, to immerse yourself further in Merton’s works.

The Thomas Merton Center is located in the heart of campus, up a flight of stairs in the W. L. Lyons Brown Library, and houses the biggest collection of his writings, drawings, photographs, audiotapes, and memorabilia, all of which are open to examining, listening to, and contemplating.

The institution also has a space dedicated to his parents, with watercolour works by his father, Owen, on exhibit.

Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton

The Abbey of Gethsemani, located south of Louisville in the fields and woodlands of rural Kentucky, provides the type of inward spiritual experience Merton recommended.

You can experience the kind of introspection he treasured in the place where he retreated in 1941 if you are truly willing to slow down.

Here, he became a Trappist monk, then a priest known as Father Louis. 

Since its founding in 1848, the abbey has welcomed tourists.

Attend a service, take a tour of the grounds, and hike the many paths on the over 1,200 natural acres that are open to the public.

In the welcome centre, learn about monastic life and snack on Kentucky bourbon fudge made by Trappist monks in the Trappist tradition of work and prayer. Visitors can stop by for the day or make reservations for a longer retreat.

Experience the mysteries of our faith in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Southwest’s high deserts have long been a spiritual destination for people of all faiths.

On a spiritual journey near Santa Fe, there are numerous pilgrimage locations to fill your desire.

Join interested pilgrims from all over the world for a beautiful encounter at the Loretto Chapel in the heart of old Santa Fe, where you may marvel at the remarkable spiral staircase built in the late 1870s.

Santa Fe, USA, NM -Altar of the LORETTO CHAPEL
Santa Fe, USA, NM -Altar of the LORETTO CHAPEL

This antique treasure is enchanted by three mysteries: the name of the builder (believed to be St. Joseph), the origins of the wood used (oddly, native to Alaska), and the physics of the design (the staircase has two 360-degree turns but no support and does not use nails but wooden pegs).

According to legend, the carpenter vanished before being paid for his labour, adding to the mystery.

Outside of the Santuario de Chimayo shrine, a modest room filled with devotions, crutches, and testimonials demonstrates the healing potential of this site. This “Lourdes of the West,” located just north of Santa Fe, is one of the most famous pilgrimage locations in the country.

A group of men discovered a crucifix buried on the hillside more than 200 years ago after seeing a weird light on the slope.

They dug up the crucifix only to find it buried the next day on the mountainside. After this occurred twice more, a tiny shrine was constructed on the place.

People began to visit the cross, and it was quickly discovered that the small hole where it had been buried contained amazing, healing dirt.

Pilgrims seeking a miracle have been visiting since then to fill their pockets with holy soil, pray for healing, and give thanks.

During Holy Week, many people walk the traditional 50-mile pilgrimage from Taos Pueblo—some even crawl, carry wooden crosses, or insert cactus needles in their skin for the journey.

Celebrate individuality and diversity in New York City

New York City is often referred to as a melting pot due to its lively diversity.

There is no greater location to celebrate one’s uniqueness than in this diverse metropolis.

The sheer number of things to do and places to visit may overwhelm you, but don’t allow the difficult process of planning a journey here to disturb you.

Remember the purpose of your pilgrimage and establish your goals accordingly.

“Depart from evil and do good; seek and pursue peace,” says Psalm 34:14.

If you are a pacifist looking for a global experience, make a pilgrimage to the United Nations Visitor Center in Manhattan.

United Nations in Manhattan
United Nations in Manhattan

A guided tour will help you comprehend the history and purpose of this diplomatic initiative.

Aside from the many landmarks worth seeing, the city holds parades every month of the year, such as the Chinese New Year Parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to celebrate the diverse cultures represented in this destination.

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade, characterized as “America’s largest expression of ethnic pride,” takes place in June, as do several Pride parades and events honouring the LGBTQ community.

Encounter God’s wonder through the silence in the seclusion of Big Sur, California

The New Camaldoli Hermitage overlooks the ocean above the golden hills above the twists and turns of Highway 1 in the close-knit, resourceful town of Big Sur, California.

Guests can withdraw from life’s stimulation and seek their inner selves and God.

Visit the hermitage for self-guided silent retreats in nature or one of the more structured “preached” retreats offered throughout the year.

New Camaldoli Hermitage
New Camaldoli Hermitage

The monks provide a special emphasis on seclusion, which modern life makes difficult but is essential on a journey of faith discovery.

Tassajara is the oldest Soto Zen Buddhist training monastery in the United States, located on the other side of the Santa Lucia Mountains, inland from Big Sur.

During the summer months, visitors of all faiths are welcome to go to the ultra-remote Ventana Wilderness to stroll the trails, play in the river, and soak in the ancient hot springs, which have long been used by native cultures to restore spiritual energy.

Tassajara is committed to enhancing people’s lives through Zen meditation and other complementing activities.

Begin a path to racial reconciliation in New Orleans

Racial reconciliation is a loaded term.

Although it has multiple meanings, simply commemorating the past and championing diversity would not be enough. It must be lived, imperfectly and genuinely, via compassion, relationships, and activism.

The Tremé area in New Orleans is the country’s oldest black community and a suitable starting place for people interested in learning about and immersing themselves in African American history and culture.

This little neighbourhood is the birthplace of jazz and boasts a strong music scene, as well as various cultural museums and plenty of superb Creole cookery.

St. Augustine Catholic Church
St. Augustine Catholic Church

St. Augustine Catholic Church is proudly located in the centre of the Tremé neighbourhood. It is the nation’s oldest African American Catholic parish, founded in 1841 by free persons of colour (who purchased the sanctuary’s outer rows of pews exclusively for the enslaved).

According to parish secretary Linda Harris, the jazz gospel choir and high-spirited Masses lead by Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father Emmanuel Mulenga draw people from all walks of life and beliefs.

The community here welcomes all people, regardless of colour, race, or sexual orientation

Explore the Linville Gorge for a physical and prayerful adventure

Spirituality and physicality are not mutually exclusive ideals. The opposite is true. By marrying these practices, one can experience deeper benefits of both.

The Linville Gorge’s old-growth trees and grandeur give an unrivalled setting for reconnecting with your body while also stretching your spiritual muscles.

The entire gorge is located in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, among the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The gorge, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Southeast,” was previously inhabited seasonally by Cherokee Indians, who called it Ees-ee-oh, or “River of Cliffs.”

Cherokee Tribe Trail of Tears
Cherokee Tribe Trail of Tears

Because of its ruggedness, it has eluded commercial logging and other damaging tactics, making it a haven for naturalists and thrill-seekers alike.

Clear your thoughts and open your heart by climbing one of the gorge’s best routes, such as Paradise Alley or Built to Tilt.

While hiking the many miles of trails in the gorge, think on St. Benedict’s words, “Always we begin again,” or any mantra you like.

If you need a warm-up, hike the short Linville Falls paths while delivering one of the five basic prayers (adoration, petition, intercession, praise, and thankfulness) at each overlook.

Find faith and fun as a family on a Rocky Mountain road trip

To some, a car full of children may not sound like a tranquil pilgrimage, but a family road trip is a terrific way to model the value of making time to nourish and appreciate your family unit as well as your religious practice.

A road trip may take you almost anywhere, but if you want a high-altitude yet humble experience, make the Rocky Mountains your next family vacation.

The Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado is 55 miles long and can be completed in a day or spread out over a week.

Make memories with your family by discovering wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park, exploring the gorgeous town of Estes Park, or riding the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland.

Bear Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
Bear Lake Rocky Mountain National Park

This vintage carousel welcomes everyone and strives to instil respect and inclusivity in all of its visitors.

Check out the Story Catcher recording booth upstairs to practice the old, and sometimes lost, art of storytelling as a family, so you can relive your wild mountain trip for years to come.

See God at work in the universe during the Perseid meteor shower

Looking outward into the universe can prepare us for an inside journey with our Creator, help us understand the unique mystery of our religion, and draw us into the idea that God created order from chaos.

A meteor shower is a spectacular display of God’s gifts to humankind.

The Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in August when we travel through debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, is one of the best summer sky events.

Perseid meteor shower
Perseid meteor shower

This year, the ideal time to watch is the night of August 11–12, and all you have to do is step outdoors and gaze up.

A few easy steps (and prayers for clear skies) can turn this night into one of the most sacred of your summer.

Experience the healing power of the beach (and some history) in St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, which claims to be our “nation’s oldest city” (it’s the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited city founded by Europeans), dates back to 1565.

When the Spaniards arrived, they celebrated the first Mass in America, a thanksgiving Mass, and had a feast with native inhabitants, which many historians today believe was the genuine first Thanksgiving, more than 50 years before the more popular lunch at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts.

For pilgrims journeying here, the white sand beaches of St. Augustine provide a baptism of sorts, a place to refresh your spirit and refuel your soul.

A trip to the beach can heal not only bodily aches but also mental and spiritual disorders.

St Augustine Lightner Museum
St Augustine Lightner Museum

Ocean water contains a high mineral content and several qualities that are similar to those of our blood. It has antibacterial properties, can boost your immune system, and helps alleviate anxiety and despair.

Negative ions in fresh, salty air balance serotonin and speed up oxygen uptake.

A walk on the sand can help to reduce free radicals and improve your mood.

Miles of beach stretch into the ocean here, providing an enticing area to see animals, walk, bicycle, fish, swim, and even scuba dive.

Our Lady of La Leche Chapel’s “Sacred Acre” is one of several Catholic landmarks in St. Augustine.

It offers a unique environment for offering prayers and intentions amid the lush and blooming grounds, with a towering 208-foot cross completing the scene.

Our Lady of La Leche, also known as Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery, is a powerful intercessor for those desiring conception, safe delivery, and healthy children.

Catholic pilgrimages in America

These were “just” 10 Catholic pilgrimages in America but as there are many more like the Wisconson Way, we will highlight them in other articles.

Stay tuned.

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