Jori Bercier, a Magnificat Travel Pilgrimage Administrator, was inspired to serve others following a mission to Puerto Rico.

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!

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.

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.

Originally our pilgrimage to Italy was scheduled for September 2017, the month of our 50th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the flooding at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church forced us to postpone the trip to January 2018. When we arrived in Rome, the weather was cold, rainy and windy, but it did not faze any of us. We were determined to move on with our pilgrimage, for God’s plan through the Holy Spirit was for it to be a trip never to be forgotten.

Our very first footsteps were taken in the context of our Christian families. Bible stories, often illustrated in Sunday school with flannelgraphs, are among the most vivid memories my husband and I have from childhood.

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.