Fr. Cedric M. Sonnier
Priest, Diocese of Lafayette
During the Centennial Year of the Diocese of Lafayette, we traveled to the land of the Acadians and visited Montréal, Québec City and Nova Scotia.
Our group was made up of over 70 pilgrims, and each one was spiritually touched as we visited so many shrines and churches: the Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, where we prayed for the Native Americans in our own diocese; the Shrine of St. Joseph; and the tomb of St. Andre Bessette, who was the humble hardworking Holy Cross Brother with a great devotion to St. Joseph. Here we prayed for his humble love, as well as the humble faith of St. Joseph to be increased in our own lives.
We also prayed for the Holy Cross Priests who served in our Diocese. At the Shrine of St. Anne, a place where so many miracles occurred, we prayed for all grandparents as St. Anne was the grandmother of Jesus. At the Notre Dame churches, we asked Mary’s prayers that our own love and faith in her son would be magnified.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences was when we visited Annapolis Royal and met some of the parishioners of a small church where they shared our last names. In typical Cajun fashion, they did not want to let us leave because they did not want our visit to end. Later on that day as we were touring their community, some of them came and found us so we could visit again.
We also toured the Chapel and Cemetery of Grand-Pré, where so many Acadians were expelled. Our hearts were moved as we walked amidst the cemetery grounds of some of the Acadians who suffered for their faith and whose headstones were destroyed and hidden—but true faith cannot be hidden.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences was when we visited Annapolis Royal and met some of the parishioners of a small church where they shared our last names.
It was also great to see how each one of the pilgrims prayed with and for each other every day of our pilgrimage. We were all very aware that we were representing the Diocese of Lafayette during this Centennial Year and we prayerfully kept all the faithful of the Diocese in our prayers and travels each day. As each pilgrim walked steps that earlier Acadian Catholics had walked, there was a true union in time.
Our pilgrimage was a wonderful mixture of faith, culture, discovery, fellowship and fun. Magnificat Travel truly did an excellent job of making our pilgrimage such a well rounded experience as the staff comfortably and efficiently moved over 70 pilgrims into so many restaurants, places and hotels. We will each remember our pilgrimage with a joyful prayer of thanksgiving.