worship spaces

Franciscan Monastery catacombs and garden

You don't need to leave Washington to visit the Holy Land. The Franciscan Monastery near Catholic University has been a pilgrimage destination since the early 20th century. You can tour the church (with catacombs) and also visit the replicas of sites from the Holy Land in the monastery garden.

When you come onto the Monastery grounds, take the left-hand walkway look for the sign for "Visitors Entrance." Enter there, and follow the hallway to the left. You will end up in the Tour Lobby. To visit the catacombs, you must join a tour, which will last about an hour. The last tour of the day is at 3 p.m. The monastery requests a donation of $2, which you can place in a box at the end of the tour.


You do not need to join a tour if you just want to look around the church and enjoy the gardens, which include replicas of several Holy Land sites and the Grotto of Lourdes. 

The monastery is located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE, Washington, DC, a ten-minute walk from Brookland/CUA Metro Station. There is a parking lot, as well as on-street parking in the neighborhood.

A map of the monastery church and grounds is available in PDF format by clicking here

  Click to view larger images

Washington National Cathedral

While the cathedral does not have an outdoor labyrinth, its Cathedral Crossroads labyrinth program on the last Tuesday evening of each month is always well attended. Two 11-circuit Chartres-style labyrinths are available for walking in the transept to the accompaniment of harp and Native American flute, while a smaller labyrinth is often laid out in the Joseph of Arimathea chapel downstairs for silent walking. These evenings also include Centering Prayer (a Christian form of meditation) and a program that highlights some variety of spiritual experience. The meditation garden walks in the summer are particularly refreshing. 

The cathedral itself, of course, is worth visiting, but best during the day when light streams through the stained glass windows and you can take the elevator to the tower gallery for some of the best views in Washington. Finding a silent spot for private prayer or reflection can be tough, though, with the tour groups wandering about. The quietest place is the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage on the crypt level, and if it's not open, then try the tiny Good Shepherd chapel. 

View Larger Map and Directions