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Maryland’s Religious Heritage

Destination Baltimore

Mother Seton House

Baltimore is a treasure trove of great attractions for groups. But in the midst of exploring Inner Harbor and other popular tourist neighborhoods, church groups can learn about the city’s significant spiritual heritage at various historic sites around town.

Mother Seton House and Historic Seminary Chapel is a former home of Elizabeth Ann Seton, who became the first American-born Catholic saint for the work she did at the Catholic girls’ school that she founded in 1808. And at the Baltimore Basilica, America’s first Catholic cathedral, groups can tour the sanctuary, the chapel, the crypt, the on-site museum and the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden.

There’s more religious history on display at the Zion Church of the City of Baltimore. Established in 1755, it is the city’s original German church, and it displays German-American culture with stained-glass windows and Haseatic architecture.

While you’re there: Get a new appreciation for the national anthem with a visit to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Francis Scott Key penned the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner” while watching the bombardment of the fort during the War of 1812.


Destination Howard County

Shrine of St. Anthony

After several days of learning about religious history in Maryland, travelers can head just west of Baltimore to Howard County to learn about how one group lives out its faith in the modern age by visiting the Shrine of St. Anthony.

The shrine was built in the 1930s as a friary and was intended to replicate the Sacro Convento of Assisi, the Italian shrine where St. Francis of Assisi is buried. As such, the monastery features beautiful Italianate architecture and a classical courtyard with a fountain and wrought-iron gates.

The monastery and courtyard are situated on 310 acres of rolling hills and woodlands. Groups are invited to stay at the monastery and make use of the natural area to rest and retreat, as well as to interact with the monks that reside there. Indoor and outdoor Masses are celebrated.

While you’re there: Many groups that stay at the shrine visit nearby Linganore Winecellars and Berrywine Plantations. The 230-acre family-operated vineyard offers winery tours and wine tastings. The winery produces traditional grape wines, as well as a variety of wines made with peaches, plums, apples, blackberries and other fruits.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.