Fantastic Voyage – Pilgrimages at Sea

Fantastic Voyage

A family of 10 embarks on a 49-day spiritual journey.

By Marcia Levin

Theo Kaufman wanted to give his wife and children an opportunity to make their Roman Catholic religion come to life — to see what they believe in and experience their globe-spanning faith. And last summer, the Louisville, Kentucky, business exec did exactly that.

Kaufman and Anna, his wife of 20 years, embarked on a seven-week pilgrimage, a religious journey visiting shrines throughout Europe, Israel, and Turkey. Accompanying them were eight of their children, aged 3 to 17, two nannies, two priests, and a few friends who joined the group for individual legs of the journey.

Kaufman planned the trip to awaken in his children a desire for a vocation within the Church. Ten-year-old Max had begun serving Mass a few months before the pilgrimage. After the trip, 16-year-old Isaac also became an altar server.

In early June, the family left Louisville for New York City, where they boarded Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 bound for Southampton.

“When we began to depart, we climbed onto the 13th deck to watch the ship sail past the Statue of Liberty and sneak underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge,” Theo says. “The storm clouds were simply incredible. Katie and I were the only ones brave enough — or stupid enough — to brave the rain and lightning … but in some way had a beautiful daddy/Katie moment.”

During the crossing, the family took part in everything on board from the ship’s lavish balls to the planetarium, children’s programs to spa….

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Photo: Doug Meikle Dreaming Track Images/Getty Images

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