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Journey of Faith

Faith-Based Suggested Tour

Rochester, NY 

Embark on this regional journey of faith through Rochester, NY and surrounding regions.   The Rochester area includes many religious faiths, replete with peace and tolerance. In our outreach to communities of the sacred, the spiritual and the divine, Rochester beckons to those who strongly identify with their own religious traditions, those who are spiritual but not religious, as well as those with no particular religious affiliation.  We invite you to follow a journey of faith in Rochester.

Day 1

In the city center take a walking tour from Main Street north along the riverside and view the beautiful park-like grounds abutting the Genesee River -- or go south across Main Street to view the new Frederick Douglass - Susan B.  Anthony Memorial Bridge.

Walk south on St. Paul St. to the Rochester Public Library and view its spectacular architecture. The Old Lehigh Station Depot on Court Street is now home to the famous, nationally renowned Dinosaur Bar-B-Q restaurant. Continue walking east on Court Street to Washington Square Park and St. Mary's Church. 

St Mary's Church- St. Mary's is a vibrant and historic Roman Catholic parish in downtown Rochester, established in 1834.  It has a long tradition of ministering to the poor and advocating for social justice. Visitors are welcome to join the parish for weekday liturgies, concerts and events. St. Mary's church hopes to lift the heart of any traveler.  View their full calendar online.

Spiritus Christi Church- All are welcome at Spiritus Christi Church.  Spiritus Christi Church emphasizes inclusivity, diversity and acceptance. Great music, preaching and hospitality lift your spirit and offer inspiration for the work and relationships we all have in life. 

Memorial Art Gallery- In 1980, Gerald Woehl, a renowned German organ builder, discovered a magnificent Italian Baroque organ in Florence, Italy, where it was to be sold as furniture.  It is now owned by the Eastman School of Music and delights the Gallery Fountain Court with sounds of the past.

If you enjoy theater, stop in at Geva Theater Center (near St. Mary's Church downtown) to pick up tickets for an evening play.

Afternoon tour suggestions:

Rochester is fast becoming the pipe organ capital of North America.  Organs inspire congregations of all denominations and enhance the spirit of worship services in many of Rochester's great and historic churches.  

The Craighead-Saunders Organ at Christ Church Episcopal at 141 East Ave. has been the focus of pipe organ aficionados worldwide. Designed according to the specifications of an instrument built by Adam Gottlob Casparini in 1776 in Lithuania, this organ provides both the Eastman and the Rochester community with an organ suitable for the music of J.S. Bach and "gives life to the largest, best preserved late Baroque organ in Northern Europe." (Hans Davidsson of the Eastman School)  Christ Church is more than 155 years old. Visitors will always feel welcome in this grand building.

Halloran - All Saints Organ at Sacred Heart Cathedral This new addition was transported in thousands of pieces to Rochester by volunteers from Tacoma, WA.  The organ is constructed in the tradition of great musical instruments that dominate the European cathedrals.  The organ is handcrafted, designed by Paul Fritts.  Dedicated in fall of 2011 as a centerpiece for the Cathedral's renovations, it becomes a powerful and inspiring instrument of prayer.

From East Ave, head down Clinton Ave North to view St. Michael's Catholic Church. This magnificent Gothic stone church was built in 1887 in the form of the Latin cross.  The 15 large stained glass windows show scenes of the Old and New Testament in brilliant red, blue, green and gold hues. Directly above the front center entrances is a copper statue of St. Michael, the patron of the church, represented trampling on Satan.  During its construction, tons of Lockport sandstone and Medina brownstone were hauled by barge down the Erie Canal, then onto horse and wagon, affixed to gin poles with slings and pulleys. The churchyard is still surrounded by its original 19th century wrought iron fence on the north side. Call Mary Beth Fuehrer to schedule a guided tour of this magnificent church. 

The Rochester area is a comfortable home to many religious faiths.  A visit to the University of Rochester's Interfaith Chapelon the campus of the University of Rochester provides a multi-faith gathering place, center of hospitality and haven for all faiths and beliefs. It has a stunning view of the Genesee River and the University of Rochester, one of Rochester's many top- notch colleges and universities. 

Roberts Wesleyan College - is an institution of the highest quality, known for transforming leadership in scholarship, spiritual formation and service. Known for its college-sponsored mission trips, students have the opportunity to expand their understanding of God and reach out to the poor in spirit.  The Chapel is an essential part of campus life with many services per semester and up to three per week.  There are also many student ministry groups to encourage students to put their faith into action.

Day 2  

Visit the Peter Whitmer Farm, 1451 Aunkst Rd., Waterloo, NY. On April 6, 1830, in a small log home belonging to Peter Whitmer Sr., the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. and five other men formally organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The first and second general conferences of the Church also were held there. It was in this home that Joseph Smith Jr. and Oliver Cowdery completed the translation of the Book of Mormon.

Hill Cumorah Visitors Center- Built at the foot of the Hill Cumorah, the Visitors Center in Macedon, NY is an invaluable resource for those who want to know more about the Church's historic sites in the surrounding area. Beautiful displays with interactive audio and video tell much of the historic events that took place at these sites, and powerful feature-length films tell of the love of the Savior for all the people of the world. Free guided tours daily.

If traveling during the month of July, pre-arrange for tickets to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Experience one of the world's great outdoor theatrical productions. Each July, seven evening performances are presented on the beautiful Cumorah hillside next to the Visitors' Center. A beautiful story on an enormous 10-level stage, twelve-tower lighting, state-of-the-art sound system, Hollywood special effects, and a costumed cast of over 650 provide a truly spectacular show. Parking and admission are free.

Lunch at Belhurst Castle on the shores of Seneca Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine country for an appreciation of history, beauty and breathtaking views. Enjoy some wine tasting at the winery and walk the lovely grounds for a relaxing afternoon.

The Waterloo Premium Outlet Centeris located just off the NYS Thruway -- Exit 42 to Route 318 East to the Waterloo Premium Outlet Center. This regional outdoor shopping mall features an impressive collection of the finest brands for family and home. Groups of 15 or more will receive free VIP Coupon Books upon arrival.

Proceed on Rte 5 & 20 west and onto 20A, through Geneseo, to 63 North, to the River Road intersection in Piffard. Continue to 3258 River Rd. Piffard, NY to reach:

Abbey of the Genesee- (5 min. west of Geneseo.) The Abbey welcomes visitors to join the community for liturgical prayer in the Abbey Church or to spend time in quiet solitary prayer. This is the home of the Abbey of the Genesee's contemplative Benedictine and Trappist monks. A porter is available throughout the day to provide assistance and answer questions. The Monks Bread factory is on site and the gift shop features many delectable treats prepared on site by the monks.


*Some free admission special highlights that you might want to include on your journey of faith include:

Wednesday downtown Rochester luncheon concerts at the First Universalist Church -- performed by Eastman School of Music students through the school year.

Tiffany Stained Glass Windows displayed in the Willard Memorial Chapel, Auburn, NY.

Evensong at Christ Church, Rochester, Sundays evenings October through April.

Candlelight Concerts at Christ Church, Rochester, first Sunday of the month, October through April.

Theatre/Musical performance at the (JCC) Jewish Community Center, Rochester. Runs October through May.