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Rome Reports

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Virtual visits of religious sites in times of social distancing

Travel restrictions shouldn't stop pilgrims from visiting religious sites, even if tours have to be virtual.

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., offers a virtual tour of its basilica, the largest Roman Catholic church in North America. More information can be found on the website. 

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City offers a live stream of the miraculous image, as well as opportunities to pray the rosary. 

The grotto at Lourdes offers opportunities for spiritual pilgrimages. Pilgrims are invited to follow live streamed Mass, as well as to add their prayer intentions to the website: 

Other important religious sites, like the Shrine of Fatima, also offer live-streamed Mass celebrations.

The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, in Massachusetts, gives the faithful the opportunity to participate in daily Mass and submit prayer intentions to the Congregation of Marian Fathers. During the month of May, there will be special talks explaining how to pray the rosary. 

A number of sanctuaries with special significance for the three latest popes can also be visited via livestreams. There is the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which was especially important to St. John Paul II.

There is the sanctuary of Our Lady of Altötting , which Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI called his “spiritual homeland.” 

Then there is the shrine of Our Lady of Luján in Argentina, Pope Francis' native country.

There's no shortage of online initiatives to help Catholics stay connected to important religious sites in these times of social distancing.