California is a dream state to travel to. With its perfect climate, natural attractions, and quaint architecture, this is a perfect destination to explore. Aside from these, the Golden State is also known for its rich Catholic heritage. This is evident in its Catholic Churches including Cathedrals, Shrines, and other religious sites. In this blog post, we will enumerate the Catholic Shrines in California that you should consider visiting. Virtually touring each for your travel reference. So sit back and take notes!
Here are the must-see Catholic Shrines in California.
Our Lady of Peace Shrine
Let’s start our tour with Our Lady of Peace Shrine. Also known as the Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine, it is located in Santa Clara, California in the midst of Silicon Valley. It is a landmark of the Diocese of San Jose. Completed in 1983, the focal point of the site is the 32-foot-tall statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can pray at the Stations of the Cross leading to the statue. Inside the Church is the gorgeous Altar. They also have a 24/7 Eucharistic Adoration. The Parish services are regularly performed by the Fathers of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. The whole place is peaceful and quiet making it a perfect place to pray. They also have a gift shop selling a wide variety of religious items. If you are in Cali, this Marian Shrine deserves your visit!
The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi
Our next stop is the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. In a city named after St. Francis, a visit to this Shrine is a must. Nestled in the heart of San Francisco’s Italian neighborhood, this former Parish turned into a Shrine in 1999. A landmark, this Norman Gothic structure will capture your eyes. The Shrine has impressive artworks such as murals and statues. Colorful stained glass windows depicting the Gospel events are installed throughout the Church. Additionally, it has a pipe organ from Schoenstein Organ Company. Most importantly, it shelters the relics of St. Francis, St. Clare of Assisi, and St. Anthony of Padua. One of the most beautiful Catholic Churches in San Francisco.
The Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer
Located in Santa Cruz, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer was founded in 1952 by the Oblates of St. Joseph. The Shrine is composed of the Chapel, the Gardens, and the Coffee Shop. Inside the chapel is the Altar with a relief of the Holy Family above. You can also find other religious artworks such as resplendent stained glass windows, statues, and paintings. In the garden lies a collection of plants that adorn the walkways where you can serenely pray and meditate. Another to look forward to when visiting is the Shrine’s Coffee Shop. It just gives you a relaxing space while on a pilgrimage. Best hangout place while appreciating the beauty around. Overall, a haven you should not miss.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Patroness of the Unborn
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Patroness of the Unborn is situated in Bakersfield, California. Declared the Diocesan Shrine in 2022, the central part of this spiritual jewel is the grotto and mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There is a Holy Spouses Memorial of the Unborn where the bronze statues of the Joseph and Mary holding a fetus representing unborn babies sit. It is a place of refuge for those who seek healing because of miscarriage, and abortion. Additionally, the Shrine has a Pavilion where the Mass is celebrated. It has an image of the Divine Mercy as the centerpiece behind the Altar. The location has a tranquil atmosphere that is meditative. A Catholic Shrine worthy of your visit in California.
St. Jude Shrine of the West
Another Catholic Shrine to explore is the St. Jude Shrine of the West in San Diego. Founded in 1946, this Church is filled with religious pieces such as statues and relics. Primarily, they house the relic of St. Jude which you can venerate together with his statue. One interesting fact about this Shrine is that St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited it in 1996 for a Holy Mass which makes it historic. It also shelters a relic of the Saint placed alongside her statue in the west entrance doorway which she used to attend the Mass. Every Feast Day of St. Jude, there is a Fiesta welcoming thousands of pilgrims from different places, gathering the faithful, and drawing closer to Christ. This is how powerful the devotion to St. Jude could be.
The Shrine of St. Therese
Another on our list is the Shrine of St. Therese. Established in 1919, this spiritual oasis in Fresno, California is in a Romanesque mission architectural style. Boasting a fine rose window on the facade, setting the total classical look of the Parish. When you get inside, an Altar with a white marble relief sculpture of the Little Flower behind will catch your attention. As well as the impressive 12-foot-tall stained glass windows installed on the walls. There is also a replica of Pieta that moves visitors. In addition, religious paintings adorn the sanctuary. The solemn side Chapels are not to miss too. Lastly, the garden is lovely for a walk and for contemplation. One of the Catholic Churches to visit in Fresno!
There you have the must-visit Catholic Shrines in California.
California is one of the best places in doing the pilgrimage. It is home to some of the historic Catholic sites worthy of exploration. It offers a spiritual experience like no other place could. If you ever think of visiting religious destinations, the Catholic Shrines above are the perfect starting point.
May you have a holy journey.
Pray, travel, and enjoy!