Just because you’re not going to World Youth Day (WYD) doesn’t mean you can’t go on a little pilgrimage of your own right here in Melbourne. A number of sacred shrines around Melbourne provide the opportunity to spiritually refresh ourselves and pray for Melbourne’s WYD pilgrims.

From various national shrines to St Patrick’s Cathedral, why not make some time to visit some of Melbourne’s beautiful religious sites. Keeping our pilgrims in prayer will be especially important as they head off to experience the Church as they’ve never experienced it before, and to encounter the Lord in a new and profound way.

Here are just a few of the local sites you could visit on your ‘stay-at-home’ pilgrimage.

Our Lady of Ta’Pinu Shrine

Also known as the All Nations Marian Centre, the Our Lady of Ta’Pinu Shrine in Bacchus Marsh was built in the 1990s in remembrance of Mary’s apparition to a young Maltese girl, Karmni Grima, in 1883.

Thousands of people from all different walks of life have come to visit this shrine, which features twelve oratories created by Melbourne’s various ethnic communities and dedicated to Our Lady’s many different titles. It truly is an ‘all nations’ centre.

Located just off the Western Freeway, the shrine also boasts a magnificent statue of Pope John Paul II—the pope who travelled around the world more than any pope ever before! It was unveiled just last year.

The Ta’Pinu Shrine is located at 15 Flanagans Drive, Merrimu.

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Unveiling of the statue of Pope John Paul II at Ta’Pinu Shrine.

National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Construction of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was begun in 1912 and completed in 1928. In 1944, it was dedicated as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, honouring the patroness of the Carmelite Order.

A number of special events and Masses are celebrated there throughout the year. The church also has shrines to St Thérèse of Lisieux, St Mary of the Cross Mackillop, the prophet Elijah and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is located at the corner of Richardson and Wright streets in Middle Park, and is open daily from 8.30am to 6pm.

National Shrine of St Thérèse of Lisieux

The Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne was founded in Kew in 1922 at the invitation of Archbishop Daniel Mannix. In the monastery’s church is a shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well as the Australian National Shrine of St Thérèse of Lisieux.

In 2002, the Little Flower’s relics visited Melbourne. Kew Junction was packed with traffic, and thousands of visitors came through the monastery night and day to pray with St Thérèse. When her relics returned in 2020, it was with the relics of her parents, Sts Louis and Zelie Martin. Amid the lockdowns, very few people came to visit and the sisters of the monastery got some very precious time with the young saint to themselves.

The National Shrine of St Thérèse of Lisieux is located at 94 Stevenson Street, Kew.

Shrine of St Anthony

Dedicated to St Anthony of Padua, this friary church is run by the Capuchins and for more than 50 years has been a centre of evangelisation and popular piety. It was built in the 1960s with the generous involvement of Melbourne’s Italian community.

Inside you will find beautiful frescoes, mosaics and artwork, as well as a number of statues, including of St Padre Pio.

St Anthony of Padua is famously the patron saint of ‘lost things’, but he is also the patron of sailors, fishermen, the elderly, harvests and the mail. He lived a life of fervent, generous service to the Lord, and is the perfect saint to call upon when we find ourselves in especially desperate circumstances.

St Anthony’s Capuchin Friary Church is located at 182 Power Street, Hawthorn, and is open for private visits from Monday to Friday, 8am–6pm, and on Sundays, 1pm–6pm.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

The mother church of Melbourne, St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the southern hemisphere.

Made from Melbourne’s very own bluestone, and with windows that fill the interior with a warm golden light, St Patrick’s was brought into being by Melbourne’s first Catholic bishop, James Alipius Goold, and the architect William Wardell. It is home to many fine baroque-style paintings, as well as statues and stained-glass windows from many different countries.

Circling the back of the cathedral are seven chapels: the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, the Holy Souls Chapel, the Chapel of St Joseph, the Ladye Chapel, the Chapel of St Thomas Aquinas, the Chapel of St Brigid and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

It is a place of deep peace and rich history, connecting us with saints and figures from around the world.

Mass times at St Patrick’s Cathedral can be found here.

How to pray?

The theme for this World Youth Day is ‘Mary arose and went with haste’ (Luke 1:30), recalling Mary’s responsiveness to God and her journey to share the Good News of Christ’s coming with her cousin Elizabeth.

As our pilgrims go on their own remarkable journey—encountering the Lord, engaging with the faith and returning home transformed by this new experience—we might consider praying with Our Lady in the Rosary. As we do, let’s pray that our pilgrims will have Mary’s generosity and openness to God’s will, and that Christ will be born anew, not only in their hearts but also in our Archdiocese.

Join the journey online! Make sure you follow us on our socials to stay up to date with our pilgrims and stay connected in prayer as they travel to World Youth Day Lisbon.