Dear Pilgrim Family,

As Ray and I look back, words fall short to express the many blessings of the last 18 months.

On a personal level, we had two weddings in the family within five months: Andrew and Alexis, and Katie and Mike. Our youngest daughter, Evelyn, graduated from St. Thomas More High School and began her college career. We are also excited that our eldest son, Matthew, will earn his Private Pilot’s License in a few weeks.

On Dec. 8, 2015, Pope Francis opened the Year of Mercy, which was significant in many ways, but especially since the year coincided with Magnificat Travel’s 15th Anniversary. Many of our groups had the opportunity to enter the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Read more about our pilgrimages and events in the 2017 Newsletter “Magnificent Travels”:

Our dear friend, Roberta, our tour guide in Rome, came to Lafayette, Louisiana, as we celebrated the 15th Anniversary with a banquet (See her story, “Roberta Visits Cajun Land,” on pg. 16). Many of our pilgrims visited with her, and she was smitten with our Cajun Culture.

In January 2016, we had 250 young adults and chaperones from five schools attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Even though many other groups left before the historic blizzard, Winter Storm Jonas, we decided we would stay and march for all those who could not. That evening the snow shut down the city, and we were stranded in the hotel for four days. We decided to have an impromptu retreat with praise and worship, Masses, a snowmen contest and a talent show.

Our 15th Anniversary year was highlighted by three events: Our Anniversary Banquet on Feb. 6, in honor of our Spiritual Directors and Group Leaders had almost 100 people at City Club of Lafayette. Guests joined us from out of state and even Europe. It was an amazing night of joy, affirmation and thanksgiving to God for the Mission of Magnificat Travel.

The 15th Anniversary Cruise to Italy, Spain and France aboard the new Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, was such a success with 113 pilgrims/cruisers that we will be doing another in October 2018. Many hearts were touched as we walked through the Holy Doors and came together in conference sessions led by Fr. Michael Russo, Msgr. Curtis Mallet, Fr. Bill Melancon and Fr. Clint Trahan.

The year of celebration concluded with a Mass and Pilgrim Reunion at Our Lady of Fatima Church. We prayed for all Magnificat Travel pilgrims, especially those who have passed away, like our dear friend Fr. Jerry Fagin, S.J. It was a blessed time of faith and fellowship.

As the anniversary year came to a close, we traveled with more than 1200 pilgrims and missionaries. God continues to bless this ministry, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be a vessel of God’s grace as we continue taking pilgrims to holy places.