Although some religions require their members to visit their holy and sacred places, the Catholic Church doesn’t. Catholics are simply encouraged to make pilgrimages — religious journeys to holy places.
Rome: Since the conversion of the Roman Empire in the mid fourth century, the Eternal City has been the center of Catholicism. The first pope, St. Peter, and the great missionary and apostle St. Paul were both martyred in this city between A.D. 64 and 67.
The Basilica de Guadalupe: The basilica in Mexico City, Mexico, contains the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that Catholics believe was imprinted by Mary on the cloak of an Aztec Indian, 57-year-old St. Juan Diego, on December 12, 1531.
San Giovanni Rotondo: The resting place of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (or “Adre Pio”), San Giovanni Rotondo draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Pietrelcina, Italy.
Basilica of Czestochowa: One of the great spiritual treasures of Poland, the “Black Madonna of Czestochowa” resides in a magnificent basilica and claims a storied past from which it’s been lucky to emerge.
Cathedral of Notre Dame: King Louis VII of France had this gorgeous cathedral built in Paris. The cornerstone was laid in 1163, and the cathedral wasn’t completed until 1250.
Basilica of Lourdes: After Mary appeared and directed her to dig, St. Bernadette uncovered a miraculous sprint of water which, to this day, has been the catalyst for hundreds of thousands of inexplicable cures.