Finally! You have always dreamed of traveling internationally, and it’s been on your bucket list for as long as you can remember.

My lifelong dream to cruise the Mediterranean became a reality last October! The experience was nothing short of a dream. Magnificat Travel’s 2018 Mediterranean Pilgrimage aboard the Symphony of the Seas® provided the framework that combined spiritually enriching land tours with a wonderful sailing experience in the largest cruise ship in the world.

Having never traveled to a city larger than New Orleans, Louisiana, I was anxious and thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life and New York City for sightseeing. I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I should expect, but I just knew it was going to be an amazing experience…and it was!

Something amazing is happening in Lafayette, Louisiana. Our area is seeing a growing wave of male and female vocations. Today, we have 42 seminarians, of which many people in the diocese are aware. What many don’t know is there is a ground swell of young ladies answering the call to religious life.

I was blessed to attend the annual March for Life for the first time on Jan. 19, 2018. I honestly cannot recall a moment in my life when I have not been ardently pro-life. As a young man, it was clear to me that the irreparable harm caused by the flawed judgement of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade would be felt for centuries to come.

Traveling is one of my favorite activities. It is, in many ways, a great teacher, and for this reason I made the decision to travel to Canada and Nova Scotia on the Diocesan Centennial Anniversary Pilgrimage.

Like so many south Louisianians, I grew up Catholic. I had the great gift of attending Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School from pre-K to 8th grade. In seventh grade I began to realize I was more interested in the faith than my family and my peers, but I was afraid to stand out. I took this tension with me to high school at Episcopal School of Acadiana.

My wife Ann and I had the distinct pleasure of joining this exciting pilgrimage across the Mediterranean Sea. From the serenity of the monastery at the top of Montserrat to the peaceful pebble beaches of Amalfi, we saw so many magnificent sites along the western Mediterranean coastline.

Most of my life, I dreamed of going to Rome. You can imagine how excited I was in April 2017, when after Mass one weekend, I found a flyer from Magnificat Travel advertising a pilgrimage to Rome in April 2018. I prayed about this for several weeks, as I thought I was too old to be able to do this—I was coming up on my 80th birthday. I think the Holy Spirit decided that was not the case, so I went to Magnificat Travel and paid for the trip.

Fr. Norbert Maduzia of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Spring, Texas, greeted Pope Francis at the Vatican on Feb. 6, 2018, while on pilgrimage.