There are Catholic Pilgrimage Sites in virtually every country in the world, some of them well known and some of them that only a lucky few know about. This list is to help you find a site near you no matter where you live or plan on visiting. We are constantly updating the site with new locations, so please check back often. If you have a location for us to add please email us at CatholicPilgrim@hotmail.com.
Before visiting a pilgrimage site, please check their website and consider calling to confirm important details such as hours and days they are open, dress code, etc. Many of the websites sites are in the local language. If you don’t speak that language and you are using Google Chrome you can right click on the page and select “translate” and it will translate the page to the language you view your browser in.
Kostel Panny Marie Vitezne – Prazske Jezulat (Church of Our Lady Victorious – Prague Infant Jesus), Prague, Czech Republic
The famous statue of the Infant of Prague is on permanent display in a glass case in an altar at the Kostel Panny Marie Vitezne. Originally from Spain, the statue was brought to Prague by a Spanish Duchess. The statue was credited with many miracles and became famous in the early 1600’s. By the mid-1700’s veneration of the statue began to spread to other countries and people came to the church to see the Prague Infant Jesus. There is a museum of statue’s outfits including a kimono from South Korea and robes from the Philippines, Shanghai and Columbia as well as nativity scenes from various parts of the world. Pilgrims can also see paintings and artifacts dating back to the 1600’s including a Madonna from 1626 and Our Lady of Manuta located at the altar of St. John of the Cross.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris), Paris, France
The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris is located on the Seine River and is over 850 years old. There are numerous statues, side chapels, paintings, and stained glass windows including the famous “Rose” window. Free tours are offered in several languages and for a small fee you can climb the 423 steps to the top of the tower for a scenic view of Paris. The Cathedral treasury contains relics from bishops and saints, including relics of the Crown of Thorns from the Passion of Jesus Christ. The relics of the Crown of Thorns is available for veneration on the first Friday of every month and every Friday during lent at 3pm, on Good Friday from 10am to 5pm, and during the Jubliee Year every Friday at the end of mass of 6:15 until 7:15pm.
Sanctuarie de Notre Dame de Lourdes (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes), Lourdes, France
The Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858. She appeared to Bernadette a total of 16 times and during one of the apparitions told her to drink and wash at the spring but there wasn’t one. Bernadette dug and a spring began to flow which quickly became renowned for the miracles of healing associated with it. An enormous church has been built and the grotto where Our Lady appeared has been preserved. Pilgrims can bathe in the pools (piscines) or obtain the “Lourdes water” via the many taps that dispense it. There is an upper and lower church, and underground Basilica. Masses and services are offered in many languages and there many processions. Many miracles have been thoroughly vetted and approved and many others have been reported.
St. Thomas Mount National Shrine, Chennai, India
The painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Luke, the only image of her created by someone who actually knew here, is kept here. The toe bone from St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles, is encased in a monstrance and the Sanctuary is said to be the spot that St. Thomas was martyred. In addition to the relic of St. Thomas there is over 100 other relics of Apostles and Saints. There is also a cross carved in a rock by St. Thomas, himself.
National Shrine of St. Thomas Basilica, Santhome, India
The Shrine is built over the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle, one of only three Basilicas built over the tomb of an Apostle. There is a wood carving of Our Lady of Mylapore on a special altar that St. Francis Xavier used to sit in front of in prayer and contemplation.
St. Leopold Mandic, a Capuchain Friar, lived and spent many long hours listening to confessions at the Church of the Configuration. His body lies in a sarcophagus in the sanctuary and pilgrims can pray there and venerate his relics. Pilgrims can see the cell where he lived, learn about the life of the Saint, as well as details of some of the miracles through his intercession.
The small, single room musuem is located within the vestry of the Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio. It was curated by Father Victor Jouët to show the attempts of the Holy Souls in Puragory to catch the attention of the living to ask for their prayers and to have Masses said for them to speed the release of their souls to heaven.
Convento Santuario di San Pio da Pietrelcina (Shrine Monastery of St. Pio of Pietrelcina), San Giovanni Rotundo, Italy
Imochiura Church and Lourdes, Goto City, Japan
The Imochiura Church has the first replica of the Lourdes Grotto in Japan.
Memorial Church and Monument to Martyrdom at the Site of Royanosako Jail, Hisakajima Island, Japan
Approximately 200 Christians were imprisoned in a cell of only 20 square meters in 1868 at the Royanosako Jail of Hisakajima Island. The names of the 42 people that lost their lives during their 8 months of imprisonment are listed on the gravestone monument at the site.
Museum at the Site of Former Santo Domingo Church, Nagasaki, Japan
In the early 1600’s Domincan Friars began their missionary work in Japan. Five years after arriving in Nagasaki the church was destroyed after the ban on Christianity. In 2002 the remains of the church was discovered beneath an elementary school and a museum was built to preserve them.
Nakamachi Church, Nagasaki, Japan
The Nakamachi Church is a brief 5 minute walk from Nishizaka and is dedicated to St. Thomas Nishi and his 15 companions, including St. Lorenzo Ruiz from the Philippines. The majority of the Church was destroyed by fires caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. It was rebuilt in 1951. There is a Japanese garden on the side of the Church that has statues of the 16 martyrs.
Nishizaka Church (St. Philips Church), Nagasaki, Japan
The church is adjacent to the 26 Martyr’s Museum and overlooks the spot where the 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified. Its patron saint is Saint Philip of Jesus, one of the 26 martyrs and the first ever Mexican Christian martyr. In 2012 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan designated it as a national pilgrimage site.
Nishizaka Hill/Martyr’s Site/Park, Nagasaki, Japan
Over 400 people from various countries were martyred at this site for their Catholic faith including the “26 Martyrs” that were crucified there in 1597 and more recently Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino Christian martyr. It was designated as an official Catholic pilgrimage site in 1950 by Pope Pius XII
Ora Tenshudo (Oura Catholic Church), Nagasaka, Japan
Oura Catholic Church is the oldest church in Japan, built in 1864 by a French missionary and dedicated to the 26 martyrs that were killed at Nishizaka Hill. It is also the place of the “Discovery of the Flock,” hidden Christians from Urakami that came to the Church in 1865 and revealed to the Priest that they were Catholic. The Pope called this survival of this group of Catholics after many years of harsh persecution a “Miracle in the East.”
Saint Kolbe Memorial Museum / Hongouchi Church & Lourdes, Nagasaki, Japan
St. Maximilan Kolbe was in Nagaskai from 1930 to 1936 during which time he established the Seibo no Kishi Monastery and the Hongouchi Seminary within it. The museum includes exhibits from St. Kolbe’s time in Japan as well as items from Friar Zenon who traveled to Nagaski with him. This site was declared a pilgrimage site by the Vatican in 1984.
The Twenty Six Martyrs Museum, Nagaskai, Japan
The 26 Martyrs museum is adjcent to Nishizaka Hill. The museum includes original letter of St. Thomas Xavier to King John III of Portugal, Relic bone of St. Jacob Kisai (one of the few remaining relics of the 26 martyrs as nearly all of their remains were destroyed), an original letter of Blessed Nakaura Julian, 15th Century parchment Anitphonary, along with many statues (including that of Blessed Takayama Uko), art, and medals and more.
Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki, Japan
Urakami Cathedral was once the largest Roman Catholic Church in the East but it was destroyed on August 9, 1945 by the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. The Church was located just 500 meters from the hypocenter of the atomic bomb, yet a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary was miraculously found amongst the rubble and became known as the “Hibaku no Maria” (which literally means the “A-bombed Mary”). The statue is now located in the Chapel of the rebuilt church and information on how you can pray within the Chapel before the statue can be obtained at the reception desk inside the Cathedral.
Christians’ Cave, Wakamatsu Island, Japan
Persecuted Christians of Satonoura, Wakamatsu Island, hid inside a cave in a steep cliff wall, where they could only be reached by boat. However, the smoke from their fire was spotted by a boat, and they were arrested and tortured. This cave was later called “Kirishtianwando” (Christians’ Cave), with a crucifix and a 3-meter tall statue of Christ erected at the entrance in 1967.
Nacional Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe (Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Mexico City, Mexico
One of the most popular and well known apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary is her appearance to Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531. From this apparition she became known under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe and millions of pilgrims visit the Basilica in Mexico City to see Juan Diego’s tilma that carries the miraculous image of her. The Basilica has a circular floorplan so that the tilma can be seen from any place you are standing. There are 9 chapels on the upper floor and below the main floor are the crypts and 10 chapels. On the same grounds is the original Chapel that was built on the exact site of the apparitions to Juan Diego.
Nidarosdomen (Nidaros Cathedral), Trondheim, Norway – The Cathedral is built over the burial site of King St. Olav (Olaf) Haraldsson, Patron Saint of Norway and is the final resting place of the body of the Saint that was canonized in 1031. It is also the northern most historical pilgrim destination in Europe. Guided tours are offered from June – August in multiple languages and pilgrims can also visit The Archbishop’s Palace Museum which is home to original statues from the Cathedral that are hundreds of years old and tells the history of the building through archaeological discoveries found on the site.
Manila Cathedral Basilica, Metro Manila, Philippines
The Cathedral was originally built in 1571 but has been rebuilt several times and has recently been remodeled. There are several side altars and statues including the Pieta, Our Lady of Antipolo: Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, and Our Lady of the Pillar. There are several chapels and a Jubilee Cross that contains a relic of the True Cross that can be venerated by the public. The Cathedral Crypt is now open to the public and the past four Cardinals are laid to rest there, including Cardinal Sin. There are touchscreen computers throughout the Basilica for pilgrims to learn about the history of the Church.
Santuario de Fatima (Sanctuary of Fatima), Fatmia Portugal
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three young children in Fatima once a month from May to October of 1917. During one of the apparition the sun spun in the sky and dove towards the earth, which is known as the miracle of the sun. A church was built in 1919 on the site of the apparitions, with the Chapel of Apparitions on the exact spot where they took place. The tomb of two of the children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto died who young and have since been declared Blessed are located at the Sanctuary.
St. Margaret’s RC Memorial Church, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
A relic of the shoulder bone of St. Margaret, Queen of Scots, is located in the base of the altar in a glass case for year round veneration by pilgrims. The tomb of St. Margaret was destroyed in 1560 so the number of her relics of is very limited. This relic was in the care of the Ursuline Sisters in Edinborough for 145 years before being transferred to St. Margaret’s.