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Tourism industry hopes to attract visitors to Pa. sacred places

Written by Tim Lambert and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 21, 2015 7:37 AM
Ephrata_Cloister.jpg

Photo by Doug Kerr, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

(Harrisburg) -- With the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia, the state Tourism office has come up with a list of scared places to visit.

The goal is to attract those in attendance for the World Meeting of Families will take some extra time to visit these locations, or perhaps to return to Pennsylvania sometime in the near future. 

Four of the sites are in the midstate: the Ephrata Cloister, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hanover, Presbyterian Church of Carlisle, and Saint Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg.

Michael Chapaloney, executive director of the PA Tourism office, says says Pennsylvania's history as a destination for those seeking religious freedom is a rich one.

"We were very fortunate that we truly own a religious history, both for this state and really for the country, in the sense that many of the first places of worship for the nation are in Pennsylvania," he says.

Chapaloney says one of the places worth a visit is the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia.

"It's the nation's first black denomination and rests upon the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African-Americans in the country," he says. "I  mean...that's unparalleled."

A full list of the sacred spaces can be found on the state's official tourism page.

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