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12 Great Historical Sites to Visit

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12 Great Historical Sites to Visit

By: John Seiler

Summary: The Catholic Church has spread throughout the world, as Our Lord commanded. Here are 12 of the greatest historical sites to visit.

Keywords: Catholic Historical Sites, Great Catholic Historical Sites, Catholic Historic Sites, Catholic Travel, Historical Locations

The world now is filled with Catholic sites, where the martyrs and missionaries brought the One True Faith to the people. The sites on this list can be fairly easily seen on major tours, or by oneself, to Europe, America and the Holy Land.

1. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This is the actual site where Our Lord was entombed after His Crucifixion. And where he arose from the dead after three days. In 2016, the Tomb inside the church was opened for the first time in 500 years. Archaeologists discovered a slab with a Cross on it, marking where Jesus' body lay until he arose from the dead.

2. Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. The church was built 1,700 years ago exactly where Jesus was born in a manger on the first Christmas Day.

3. St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican, Rome. The Basilica was built over the tomb of the martyred St. Peter, which you can visit. The Catholic faith has inspired the world's greatest art, much of it here, from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's itself, both largely by the incredible Michelangelo.

4. The Catacombs, Rome. Catholics suffered horribly for the first three centuries under the persecutions of the pagan Roman Empire. They hid in the Catacombs below Rome, where their altars and icons still can be venerated. The Catacombs are inspiration for surviving a new persecution that may be upon us.

5. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France. Although the Catholic Church has fallen on hard times in France, as elsewhere, France's faithfulness over many centuries earned her the title Eldest Daughter of the Church. And the center of French Catholicism is Notre Dame Cathedral.

6. Chartres Cathedral, France. Long a site of Marian devotion and pilgrimage across Europe, Chartres built a cathedral that is the pinnacle of High Gothic art, with its magnificent stained-glass windows, especially the North Rose Window. To enter Chartres Cathedral is to be bathed in beauty so great it carries one's soul to Heaven.

7. Fulda Cathedral, Germany. Buried there are the remains of the great St. Boniface, who was martyred while converting the Germans from paganism to the Catholic Faith. When the pagan Germans refused to stop worshipping Donar's Oak, he cut the tree down.

8. The Oratory, Birmingham, England. Unfortunately, many Catholic sites in England were destroyed by the murderous King Henry VIII and his henchman as they became Protestants. Or the sites were turned over to Protestants, like Canterbury Cathedral. After Catholicism began to be tolerated about 200 years ago, the Birmingham Oratory was founded by Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1849. It was part of the Congregation of the Oratory, which had been established in 1575 in Rome by St. Philip Neri. Newman led a short-lived, but fruitful revival of the Catholic Faith in England that included such famous converts as G.K. Chesterton and Msgr. Ronald Knox.

9. Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Spain. For more than a millennium, the burial place of the apostle St. James has drawn thousands of pilgrims every year along the Way of St. James.

10. The California Missions. They were launched by Fr. Junipero Serra. In America, the 21 missions were constructed between 1769 in San Diego and 1823 in Sonoma. They stretch about 30 miles apart, enough for a day's walk by the monks. The horrible secularization of the Mexican government in 1833 passed over into California as a state of the United States, then was ended in 1845 by President Lincoln, who restored the missions to the Catholic Church.

11. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine in Upper Manhattan, New York City. The saint is buried here. She established many orphanages and schools across our country. Also worth visiting is the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado.

12. National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, New York. Three Jesuit missionaries were martyred here in 1642 and 1646 by Mohawk Indians. The Jesuits were converting the Huron Indians and later some of the Mohawks, most notably Kateri Tekakwitha. The stories of the hideous tortures these and other Jesuits suffered for our Faith are incredible to read, and an inspiration in these troubling times that perhaps will bring more martyrdoms.

Signature ImageSignature: John Seiler

John Seiler was an editorial writer at The Orange County Register for 29 years. Email: writejohnseiler(at)gmail(dot)com


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