Top 15 Catholic Shrines around the world

Of the hundreds of catholic shrines, basilicas in the world of the Roman Catholic church, here is our TOP 15 selection to get you in pilgrim mode.

Shrines, Basilicas and Marian shrines of the world of the Catholic church

The Shrines of the Catholic church featured here are selected primarily for their own unique features and historic value. But as always there are other shrines and basilicas well worth visiting. So feel free to search around our site

1. Fatima, Portugal

 Catholic Shrines nossa senhora de fatima santuario de fatima fatima fatima portugal our lady of fatima Catholic churchSanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima – Santuario de Nossa Senhora de Fatima is one of the largest Marian shrines in the world. Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to her apparitions to three shepherd children at Fatima on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917. Fatima, Portugal, receives about 4-5 million pilgrims a year. More on Fatima.

2. Lourdes, France

Lourdes sanctuary trip Catholic churchSeveral catholic shrines and basilicas in Lourdes associated with Marian apparitions receive over 5 million pilgrims a year. Making Lourdes the second most visited Christian pilgrimage site in Europe after Rome .

We call «Message of Lourdes» the gestures and words that were exchanged between Virgin Mary and Bernadette Soubirous, at the Grotto of Massabielle, during the time of the eighteen apparitions.

This message is heard as: God is love and he loves us as we are. More on Lourdes. We wrote an article How to get Lourdes water the easiest way. See more European catholic shrines

3. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican

Saint Peter's Basilica Catholic churchSaint Peter’s Basilica is one of the Papal Basilicas and one of the four Major Basilicas of the Catholic Church. Houses The Pietà (1498–1499) by Michelangelo, Vatican GrottosTreasury and with the impressive St. Peter’s Square. The measurements of the square are: it is 320 m deep, its diameter is 240 m and it is surrounded by 284 columns, set out in rows of four, and 88 pilasters. More on St. Peter’s Basilica.

4. Shrine of Divine Mercy, Poland

Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow Catholic churchAt the heart of the Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Kraków -Łagiewniki stands the chapel where the miraculous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina are to be found.

This chapel has since witnessed the prayer of the Apostle of The Divine Mercy and the extraordinary graces (including the revelations of Jesus and the Blessed Mother) received by her in this place.

With her death, the message of God’s Mercy, which by the will of Christ she gave to the Catholic Church and the world, was deposited in this place.

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For this reason the Łagiewniki Shrine became the centre of devotion to The Divine Mercy. The place from which this message is spread throughout the world and the place to which people from every continent come on pilgrimage. It was the place of the World Youth Day 2016.

5. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico

National Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic churchThe Catholic Church has constantly tributed to the Virgin Mary a special piety and worship. The Guadalupe Marian devotion is the basis of Christian history in Mexico and it also supports the evangelization of the whole American continent. See more Catholic shrines from South America.

The Shrine of Tepeyac, where the sacred image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the heart,  has been continuous goal of pilgrims from the XVI century, not only from the Mexican nation but also of the entire American continent.

This has strengthened their faith and successive generations, finding necessary to bear witness to the faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and to remain faithful to her strength.

6. The Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, France

The Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, France Catholic churchThe Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris , a masterpiece of faith, art and history, is the cathedral of the Catholic church archdiocese of Paris. It is one of the best-known symbols of the French capital, and the most-visited monument in France, ahead of the Eiffel Tower.
The Cathedral Notre Dame is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and attracts 13 million believers, pilgrims and visitors each year. It is stage to major celebrations for the diocese and the French republic.

7. Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brasil

Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida Catholic churchBasilica of Our Lady of Aparecida – one of the largest churches in the world and receives about 12 million visitors per year. The greatest Center for Catholic Evangelization of Brazil is a mirror of popular international and national devotion to the Queen and Patroness of Brazil, Our Lady Conception of Aparecida.

In order to welcome approximately 12 million of pilgrims per year, the National Sanctuary provides its devotees with an area of more than 1.3 million square meters, with about 143 thousand square meters of built-up area.

8. Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy

Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy Catholic churchSaint Mark’s Basilica is a monument made unique by both its wealth of history and the magnificence of its façade and interior. In essence, it is a splendid workshop, where, through the centuries, worked great Italian and European artists.  Its distinguishing Byzantine character appears particularly on the great mosaics illustrating St. Marco’s tales. As well as the scenes of the Old and New Testament.

Venice ’s greatness has always been reflected in the Saint Mark’s Basilica enrichment. During the centuries the Venetians embellished it with precious objects and works of art brought in from the most distant places, thus creating a grand, compact monument.

9. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, USA

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Catholic churchThe Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America. And is one of the ten largest churches in the world. See more catholic shrines in North America.

Visited by Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, Saint John Paul II, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Among others, the Basilica, though distinctly American, rivals the great sanctuaries of Europe and the world.

10. Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi

Francis in Assisi Catholic churchThe great complex of the Basilica of Francis in Assisi and the Sacred Convent. Located in the west of the hill on which stands the town of Assisi. It has gradually structured in the XIII-XV and presents the visitor who comes from the plain with its architecture both simple and majestic.

The history and the structure of the Sacred Convent, a place of life of the Franciscan friars and the residence of the popes. Others are dedicated to the Basilica of Francis in Assisi with three overlapping halls of the crypt with the tomb of St. Francis, the lower church and the Upper Church.

And of course Portiuncula “, which literally means the small portion of land on which it stood. Remained for a long time in a state of neglect, was the third church to be restored directly to St. Francis after the “mandate” received from the crucifix of San Damiano.

11. Jasna Gora Monastery, Czestochowa

Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa Catholic churchJasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa, where the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is housed permanently. It receives about 4-5 million pilgrims a year.

The Image of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, also known as the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Having dimnsion of 121,8 x 81,3 cm. Depicts Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus on Her left hand.

The image represents monumental and dignified iconographic structure of a Bizantine Hodigitria, the one who points the way to salvation. She is a Guide, leading the entire humanity to Jesus Christ.

12. Medjugorje

medjugorje medjugorie medjugorje live medjugorje messages medjugorje apparitions medugorje virgen de medjugorje Catholic churchIn 1981, when the apparitions started, the life of the Medjugorje parish changed. Our Lady chose for her witnesses and co-workers not only the six visionaries, but the entire parish and its pilgrims.

This was expressly told in the following message: “I have chosen this parish in a special way and I wish to lead it.” (March 1st, 1984). Apparitions are still continuing today. Read here about our experience in Medjugorje.

“We bishops, after a three-year-long commission study accept Medjugorje as a holy place, as a shrine. This means that we have nothing against it if someone venerates the Mother of God in a manner also in agreement with the teaching and belief of the Church.

Therefore, we are leaving that to further study. The Catholic Church does not hurry.” His Eminence Cardinal Dr. Franjo KUHARIĆ, Archbishop of Zagreb, 1993.

13. San Giovanni Rotondo

San Giovanni Rotondo Catholic churchThe most recent history of San Giovanni Rotondo is connected to the friary and to the arrival on July 28th 1916 of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Here Padre Pio lived and died on September 23rd 1968. Beatification (May 2, 1999). Canonization (June 16, 2002).

The relics of the body of St. Pio of Pietrelcina are permanently exhibited for veneration.

14. The Sanctuary of Gethsemane

The Sanctuary of Gethsemane Catholic churchThe rock of the Agony of Jesus. The centerpiece of the church is the bare rock, left exposed for veneration. A practice that was common to many Holy Places and which dates back to ancient times.

Indeed, since at least the end of the 14th century pilgrims to Gethsemane have customarily prostrated themselves before the “Rock of the Apostles”, where Peter, James and John were said to have fallen asleep during Jesus’ agony. And which today can still be seen outside in the area behind the church. See more shrines in the Holy land.

15. The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major Catholic churchIs a Papal major basilica and the largest from all the Marian catholic shrines in Rome, from which size it receives the appellation “major”. The Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches.

Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the Church’s role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome.

For nearly sixteen centuries, St. Mary Major has held its position as a Marian shrine par excellence and has been a magnet for pilgrims from all over the world. Who have come to the Eternal City to experience the beauty, grandeur and holiness of the of Saint Mary Major.

The Holy Crib

In the crypt under the high altar lies the celebrated relic known as the Holy Crib. A statue of Pope Pius IX kneeling before the ancient wooden pieces of the manger serves as an example to the faithful who come to see the first humble crib of the Savior.

Salus Populi Romani

Protectress of the Roman People —  venerated image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Rome.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!