People make pilgrimages to special places for special reasons.
By traveling together, people of faith can celebrate, confer and commemorate while viewing some of the most beautiful religious sights in the world.
Groups making a pilgrimage to Howard County enjoy the convenient 20-minute drive from both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore beltways, and the short distance from BWI Marshall Airport.
Howard County Tourism Inc. provided this one-day itinerary focused on faith.
Alongside a guide, start the day with a motorcoach tour of historic area churches.
Visit the Shrine of Saint Anthony to be awed at the artistry and magnificent architecture of the 70-year-old late Italian Renaissance building in Ellicott City. At the shrine, rich histories of relationships surround the property on which the structure sits. The property’s history extends all the way back to the founding of the colony of Maryland.
Construction began in 1930 and a year later, the shrine was completed. It includes a historical courtyard, the Glassroom, the Papal Dining Room, the library and conference room.
Head to Whipps Garden Cemetery, a one-acre historical garden-park and cemetery (1832–1915) that features small gardens with many native trees and shrubs. The rose garden, butterfly garden and herb garden are perfect for a group walking tour. Owned by The Friends of the Whipps Cemetery and Memorial Gardens Inc., it is maintained by volunteers, primarily from the University of Maryland Extension’s Howard County Master Gardeners group.
Next, tour St. Paul’s Catholic Church — the oldest active Catholic parish between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The church was dedicated in 1838, with Mass prior to that being celebrated in Castle Angelo on the hillside opposite the site where it stands today in Ellicott City. During the Civil War, the church’s basement was used as a hospital for soldiers, both Union and Confederate. In 2005, the youth of the parish, led by an Eagle Scout, restored the St. Paul cemetery.
Head to St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, founded in 1967 by Cardinal Lawrence Shehan. The church operates out of interfaith centers, shared buildings where individual congregations (Catholic, Protestant and Jewish) hold the events of their own respective traditions. St. John operates out of both the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center and the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center.
End your day with an enjoyable visit to the shops at HorseSpirit Arts, a boutique with an eclectic, uplifting collection that presents and promotes the original cre- ations of more than 20 local artists. Have the group explore their surroundings — the shopping center is a converted church building.
Groups looking for a meeting venue or spiritual retreat can look into the Retreat and Conference Center at Bon Secours, a ministry of the Sisters of Bon Secours. The 300-acre property features 70 guest suites with private baths, a range of dining options, a chapel, peace garden and other accommodations.
Groups staying in the area for more than one day also can visit The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth in Frederick County; The National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes in Frederick County; The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore; and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.