Ultimate Guide to Catholic Shrines in Pennsylvania - Pilgrim for Less (2024)

Pennsylvania is a state in the northeast United States. Its history served great importance in American history, and with that includes the growth of Christianity through early settlers and immigration. Oftentimes, churches were set up to serve particular immigrant groups. According to the Pew Research Center (2014), 73% of the population in Pennsylvania are Christians, and of that percentage, 24% are Catholic. Through the years, many churches and shrines have been built for the faithful in Pennsylvania to practice and enrich their faith. This ultimate guide to Catholic shrines in Pennsylvania will highlight must-see places for your next pilgrimage!

Contents

What can I do at each shrine?

NOTE: Due to the varying mandates and responses from the COVID-19 pandemic, Masses, services, public prayer, access to relics, etc may be limited or unavailable. Please verify with the particular shrine before you go! Websites and contact info provided below.

In general, shrines offer a place and times of prayer. And shrines typically have a relic or image of a particular saint and are designated as the particular place for public devotion related to that saint. Some shrines are normal parish churches or some are set up specifically to handle many pilgrims. Yet even some others are part of a religious community such as part of a convent or monastery.

Typically at shrines, you should be able to:

  • Attend Mass
  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
  • Participate in particular devotions like novenas related to the saint the shrine is named after
  • Pray
  • See and venerate a saint’s relics

Some shrines offer more such as ministries or services specific to visitors and pilgrims. For more specialized offerings, check out each shrine listed below!

How this Guide to Catholic Shrines in Pennsylvania Works

Listed below is a list of shrines available in Pennsylvania. Addresses are listed with a link to Google Maps. Phone numbers and websites are provided, if available, if you wish to contact the shrine directly or find out more detailed information. Following the basic info are a brief history and summary of the shrine.

If there are particular things of interest for each shrine, those are highlighted as well!

Want to learn more about how to go on more pilgrimages for less time and money? Subscribe to the email list!

Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Ann

Address: 1233 St. Ann Street, Scranton, PA 18504

Phone: 570-347-5691 (Shrine), 570-342-5166 (Rectory)

Websites:

Started by Passionists fathers at the turn of the 20th century, St. Ann’s is the home of one of their monasteries and the popular novena devotion to St. Ann. In its early years, the monastery was damaged by rock slides resulting from work in the local coal mines of Scranton. In the early 1920’s, a few lay faithful started requesting the rector to hold a weekly novena to honor St. Ann, and the devotion greatly grew resulting in a church being built to accommodate the faithful (“St. Ann’s History, n.d.). To this day, the St. Ann Novena continues and many pilgrims flock to the shrine, especially during the month July when the Feast of St. Ann occurs and a solemn version of the novena is prayed. Through the years, many miracles were attributed to this devotion of the St. Ann Novena. Pope St. John Paul II declared St. Ann’s to be a Minor Basilica on October 27, 1997.

The Basilica features:

  • Public devotion: St. Ann Novena and Solemn Novena
  • Masses
  • Confessions
  • Gift shop, especially St. Ann’s oil

Central Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Address: 500 E Chelten Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Phone: 215-848-1010 or Toll Free 1-800-523-3674

Website: https://miraculousmedal.org/

In the mid-1800’s, some Vincentians from the Congregation of the Mission established a seminary chapel to foster vocations. After some years, they planned to build a chapel for their own congregation, but the then-Bishop of Philadelphia asked them to make the chapel public. This chapel became the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. In the early 1900’s, national devotion to the Miraculous Medal blossomed prompting the director of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, Fr. Skelly, to build a shrine in the Chapel to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (“A Home for Mary, the Miraculous Medal Shrine”, 2020). From completing the shrine, a “Monday Novena” was started by Fr. Skelly as tribute to the Blessed Mother–a devotion that continues today with pilgrims flocking to the Shrine every Monday.

For more information about the Miraculous Medal, check this out!

This shrine features:

  • Public devotion: Perpetual Novena (“Monday Novena”)
  • Masses
  • Adoration, Confessions
  • Group pilgrimages and tours
  • Art museum
  • Gift shop

National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Also known as the parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Address: 501 Ridge Ave, Allentown, PA 18102

Phone: 610-433-4404 (Rectory)

Website: http://immaculateconceptionallentown.org/index.html

Dedicated on October 25, 1857 by St. John Neumann, then-bishop of Philadelphia, Immaculate Conception parish in Allentown has served the faithful for over 160 years. In the 1970’s, the US Conference of Bishops desired to establish a National Shrine in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the then-pastor of the time, Monsignor Thompson, petitioned the Conference for Immaculate Conception parish to host the shrine. And they agreed. The church became a National Shrine in December of 1974 (“History of Our Church”, n.d.). Inside the church, the faithful and pilgrims can find a portrait of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe over a side altar.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe features:

  • Special Mass on December 12, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Masses

National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa

Address: 654 Ferry Road, Doylestown, PA 18901

Phone: 215-345-0600

Website: https://czestochowa.us/

Our Lady of Czestochowa is a famous icon of the Blessed Mother and the child Jesus in Czestochowa, Poland. It currently resides in the Jasna Gora monastery and shrine for pilgrims to view and venerate. Many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa. To read more about the original icon, check out this page!

In the early 1950’s, Fr. Michael Zembruzki from the Pauline Fathers came to the United States with the desire to establish a similar shrine to Jasna Gora. A few years later, a barn chapel was built and dedicated to Our Lady of Czestochowa (The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, n.d.). Soon pilgrims frequented the chapel to the point that the barn chapel was no longer adequate to host the many pilgrims from America and Poland. The current building and grounds were dedicated in 1966 and designated as a National Shrine in 2009.

At the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, you can:

  • Attend Mass
  • Go to Confession
  • Group tours and pilgrimages
  • Take a virtual tour!
  • Join a retreat or stay at the retreat house
  • Enjoy Polish food at the deli and cafeteria

National Shrine of St. John Neumann

Address: 1019 N 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19123

Phone: 215-627-3080

Website: https://stjohnneumann.org/

This shrine is dedicated to St. John Neumann, a Redemptorist priest and former bishop of Philadelphia. St. John Neumann is known for helping out European immigrants, building many churches, hospitals, and orphanages (About St. John Neumann, n.d.). In particular, he loved being with the sick and poor. Visitors and pilgrims to this National Shrine can visit and venerate St. John Neumann’s relics. The museum opened in April 2019 and allows visitors to learn St. John Neumann’s story.

At this National Shrine, you can:

  • Be blessed with St. John Neumann’s relic
  • Attend Mass
  • Go to Confession
  • Participate in devotions: Rosary, Novenas, Adoration
  • Go on retreats
  • Visit the museum
  • Do tours and pilgrimages
  • Visit the gift shop

National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia

Address: 1166 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146

Phone: 215-546-8333

Website: https://www.saintritashrine.org/

Because of the needs of many immigrant families residing in the area in the early 1900’s, with the help of one generous donor and the zeal of the Augustinian Friars and the then-Bishop Patrick Ryan, they established the parish of St. Rita’s. The church nearly closed in the early 1990’s, but the local community pulled together to revitalize it. In the year 2000, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops declared it as the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia (History, The National Shrine of St. Rita Cascia, n.d.). Since then, the shrine has undergone renovations and more buildings added to further outreach to the local community. Many pilgrims and devoted faithful return to the shrine each year on St. Rita’s feast day on May 22 for the Solemn Novena.

To learn more about St. Rita, check this out!

At the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, you can:

  • Participate in the Solemn Novena and feast day for St. Rita
  • Go on tours and pilgrimages
  • Attend a Healing Mass
  • Attend normal Masses
  • Go to Confession and Adoration
  • Visit the Cascia Center for various ministries

Saint Jude Church and Shrine

Address: 321 Butler Ave., Chalfont, PA 18914

Phone: 215-822-0179

Website: https://stjudechalfont.org/

This parish church was established in 1962 on farm land by Archbishop John Krol. The first pastor, Fr. Robert Gregg, desired that the parish be named after St. Jude the Apostle, and also be the regional shrine for St. Jude (St. Jude Church and Shrine, n.d.). Since then, a school was built and the numbers continued to grow. Unfortunately, a fire burned the church to the ground in October of 1982, but members of the community came together to rebuild the church and shrine, which was dedicated on September 23, 1984. Visitors and pilgrims can participate in the usual worship and devotions, novenas, and veneration of St. Jude’s relic offered throughout the week.

Here at St. Jude’s, you can:

  • Venerate a relic of St. Jude
  • Pray the Solemn Novena or weekly Novena prayers
  • Attend Mass
  • Go to Confession and Adoration

Saint Katharine Drexel Shrine

As of 2018, the shrine is now part of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, but St. Katharine Drexel’s community can still be found at their house (and former shrine) in Bensalem, PA.

Address: 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone: 215-561-1313

Website: https://www.saintkatharinedrexelshrine.com/

St. Katharine Drexel is the second American-born saint, and she is known for starting the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She was asked by Pope Leo XIII in Rome to become a missionary (Saint Katharine Drexel Shrine, n.d.). And in her missionary efforts, she particularly served the African American and Native American communities across the United States opening up schools and colleges. Visitors and pilgrims can visit the Tomb of Saint Katharine Drexel located inside the Cathedral Basilica.

At the Saint Katharine Drexel Shrine, pilgrims can:

  • Go on tours and pilgrimages to the shrine (and cathedral)
  • Visit the Cathedral Shop
  • Submit prayer intentions and requests
  • Participate in the Solemn Novena (starts February 22, ends March 2)
  • Participate in weekly Novena prayers on Thursdays
  • Go to her Feast Day Mass (March 3)

Saint Anthony’s Chapel (Shrine of Many Relics)

Address: 1704 Harpster Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Phone: 412-999-4401

Website: https://pghshrines.org/about-st-anthony-chapel

Probably one of those most unique shrines on this guide, St. Anthony’s Chapel is famous for having a collection of over 5000 relics! The only other place in the world with more relics is the Vatican (Shrines of Pittsburgh, n.d.). Fr. Mollinger started construction on the chapel in 1880 as a place to house his collection of relics, which included a first-class relic of St. Anthony of Padua for whom the shrine is named after. In addition to the many relics and reliquaries, the chapel features many decorations imported from Europe evoking beauty and excellent craftsmanship.

The St. Anthony Chapel features:

  • Guided tours and pilgrimages
  • Mass
  • Confession, Adoration, Novenas, and Stations of the Cross
  • Museum and Chapel Shop across the street

Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Found inside of the Mount Saint Macrina House of Prayer.

Address: 500 West Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401

Phone: 724-438-7149

Website: https://sistersofstbasil.org/ (community website of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great)

Representing the Byzantine expression of the Catholic faith, the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great has a community and house in Uniontown. The main house used to be the J.V. Thompson mansion, and has been converted to useful spaces for visitors and pilgrims to visit (Sisters of St. Basil, 2012). Within the House of Prayer is the Our Lady of Perpetual Help shrine, a beautiful shrine featuring the icon. Each year, the Sisters host a pilgrimage on Labor Day weekend with many activities and spiritual opportunities and is known as the oldest and largest Byzantine Catholic pilgrimage in the USA.

Mount Saint Macrina offers:

  • Virtual tour!
  • Pilgrimages
  • Gift shop
  • Overnight accommodations
  • Pilgrimage camping

Other Catholic Churches in Pennsylvania to Visit!

Besides the awesome Catholic shrines in Pennsylvania listed in this guide, you can also visit amazing churches that are worth checking out! See if you can swing by any of these churches listed below on your next pilgrimage to Pennsylvania!

Want to learn more about popular pilgrimages around the world? Be sure to check out the Most Popular Christian Pilgrimages!

Don’t have the money to go on a pilgrimage just yet or still uncomfortable with traveling? Take a virtual one, instead!

Which Pennsylvania shrine are you looking forward to visiting and why? Comment below!

References

A Home for Mary, The Miraculous Medal Shrine. (2020). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://miraculousmedal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ShrineStory.pdf

About St. John Neumann. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2020, from https://stjohnneumann.org/our-st-john-neumann/about-st-john-neumann/

History of Our Church. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2020, from http://immaculateconceptionallentown.org/history.html

History, The National Shrine of St. Rita Cascia. (n.d.). Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.saintritashrine.org/history

Pew Research Center. (2014). June 4-September 30, 2014 — Religious Landscape Study [Data summary]. https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/state/pennsylvania/

Saint Katharine Drexel Shrine. (n.d.). Interactive timeline. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.saintkatharinedrexelshrine.com/interactive-timeline/

Shrines of Pittsburgh. (n.d.). The Chapel. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://pghshrines.org/the-chapel

Sisters of St. Basil. (2012, July 31). House of Prayer. Retrieved October 02, 2020, from https://sistersofstbasil.org/ministries/house-of-prayer-2/

Smith, W.G. (1911). Pennsylvania. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 19, 2020 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11638c.htm

St. Ann’s History. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2020, from https://www.stannsmonasterybasilica.org/st-anns-history.html

St. Jude Church and Shrine. (n.d.). Parish Directory [PDF]. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/622/documents/2020/1/Parish%20Directory%2001-2020%20FINAL%20PDF.pdf

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. (n.d.). The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa Timeline History. Retrieved September 26, 2020, from https://czestochowa.us/about-us/history/

Featured image by Leepaxton / Wikipedia

Ultimate Guide to Catholic Shrines in Pennsylvania - Pilgrim for Less (1)

JR Labio

JR is a full-time engineer working in the aerospace industry. Apart from having such a fly job, he flies unto the arms of Our Lady and the Church pursuing his faith and a relationship with Christ. Over the past several years, faith and flying via pilgrimages became a thing. When he’s not being fly, JR hangs out with family, friends, his chihuahua, and with thoughts of the next trip.

Ultimate Guide to Catholic Shrines in Pennsylvania - Pilgrim for Less (2024)

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