Shrines of the United States
Although the United States is a fairly young country compared to many others, it abounds with Catholic shrines and places of interest to Catholics. The history of the Catholic Church in the U.S.A. has not always been an easy one. Although many who settled here came for religious freedom, this did not always apply to Catholics. In fact, as immigrants from such countries as Ireland and Italy (with largely Catholic populations) came in the late 19th Century, anti-Catholicism arose in certain parts of the country.
Despite these obstacles, Catholicism grew in the country and today it accounts for roughly 25% of the population.
Almost every state has something to appeal to Catholic vacationers and pilgrims alike. If you are traveling and looking for a place to visit or attend Mass then check one of these out. In addition many of the shrines offer pilgrimages and retreats.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Wisconsin’s Marian Shrines
Our Lady of La Leche Shrine and Mission of Nombre de Dios
Mission Nombre de Dios traces its origins to the founding of the City of St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, in 1565. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the Church. It was at this sacred spot that the Spanish settlers would begin the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche that continues into the present. They built the first shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the early 1600s. It was later destroyed by hurricanes and attacks, and the present structure was built in 1915.
Additionally, the mission houses a cross over 200 feet tall and an outdoor altar commemorating the first Mass celebrated here on September 8, 1565 by the first Spanish settlers to arrive. This Mass of Thanksgiving is widely believed to be the First Thanksgiving on the continent, over 50 years before the Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth Rock in 1621.