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Pilgrimages and Mission Trips

February 9, 2007
“The world is a book, and those who
do not travel read only one page.”
— Saint Augustine

Not just a trip, but a pilgrimage

I had the enormous blessing to go to Italy, France, and Germany for the 2005 World Youth Day with an amazing group of young adults from all over Louisiana and Texas. We went to Rome, Assisi, Florence, Cologne, and Paris. This was just not a mere trip overseas, but truly a pilgrimage–a spiritual journey of fellowship, humility, prayer, and sacrifice. It was not a luxury trip. We shared rooms, fasted, suffered cold and rain, sung many songs, cried, prayed the Rosary and the Divine Office, shared meals, attended daily Mass… it was a transforming journey that was not individualistic, but that we went through as a tiny community of faith. At first we were strangers and then we became sharers in the charity of Christ. This journey was crucial prior to our arrival in Cologne when we shared with hundreds of thousands of young people from around the globe. Some groups in Cologne were there just for the trip itself, but many other groups really understood the significance and the importance of being there and this is why I emphasize that for our group specifically this was truly a pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage was organized by Magnificat Travel that is headed by the wonderful Tregre family. They always make sure that trips are just not tours, but pilgrimages. They always have a priest and perhaps a religious to accompany the group on the pilgrimage. They are headquartered in Lafayette, LA and organize year-round pilgrimages overseas, within the US, mission trips to Mexico, and if you would like to lead a group to a specific place, just contact them and they can make accommodations. I know the Tregre family personally and these are wonderful people. Half of the family is from Puerto Rico, so their Spanish can come handy for mission trips.

Shop Around

If you are wanting to embark on a pilgrimage, make sure you pick the right travel agency by asking the right questions: will a priest be there, will there be daily Masses and prayers throughout the trip, or other questions that would fit your expectations of the trip, so you will not spend your money on an experience that was not what you expected.

But it’s too much money!

The total trip cost me about $3000 for two weeks in Europe. Magnificat Travel allows you to pay this amount in installments. It was about $2400 for the ticket, hotel accommodations, some meals, and transportation. The remaining $600 I spent on some meals, batteries, and gifts. If you ask me, I think pilgrimages are definitely an investment and personally one that changed my life for ever! And if you get to see Pope Benedict XVI from about 30 feet away, any financial sacrifice is worth it, right?

Here are some of Magnificat Travel’s upcoming pilgrimages and mission trips (see more at www.holytravels.com:

  • In the Footsteps of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Pilgrimage to Lourdes, Nevers, Lisieux, & Paris, France.
  • Marriage Enrichment Retreat w/ Jan & Lloyd Tate and Fr. Hampton DavisBaton Rouge, LA
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage to Mexico 2007
  • St. Thomas More Mission Trip to Mexico
  • Eucharistic Pilgrimage to Alabama — Saints Peter & Paul Parish
  • Way of Wisdom VII – Pilgrimage of Hope & Mercy with John Paul II — Pilgrimage to Poland & Italy
  • St. Thomas More Woodleaf 2007 Younglife Camp in California
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