Footprints of God DVD’s

An Interview with Catholic Evangelist Steve Ray

“My family and I have discovered that the Catholic Church is the best-kept secret in all of human history.”

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Catholic evangelist Steve Ray. Since I am a high school theology teacher, I have long been impressed with what Steve has done for the Church; for instance, I have shown some of his “Footprints of God” videos to my students, who are justifiably spellbound by the remarkable imagery of the Holy Land. Steve, a reliably entertaining and informative Catholic media personality also has a website, “Defenders of the Catholic Faith,” and he is active on Twitter. If you would like to learn more about why Steve Ray embraces the Catholic faith as a proud and fearless disciple of Jesus Christ, you can find his books on Amazon or at Ignatius Press. May you be inspired by Steve’s testimony here.

1) What initially drew you to the Catholic faith, and how has Catholicism enriched you and your family’s life since converting

That’s a big question. I was born and raised an Evangelical Protestant. My parents were inspired by Billy Graham, and I grew up in that warm environment. I considered myself a Bible teacher. I became Catholic not necessarily because I saw anything beautiful in the Catholic Church at first, but when I was 39, I began to see three problems with Protestantism: 1) What was worship? 2) What is the authority that binds Christians? (We thought this was the Bible alone, but that would never work.) 3) How many Churches did Jesus start? (There was only one, per Matthew 16:18 and John 17.) We spent a lot of time contemplating these questions. Then, a good friend of mine, Al Kresta, converted to Catholicism in 1993. Al and I have been best friends since 1983. We home-schooled our kids and studied the Bible together. My wife and I told him that was the stupidest thing we ever heard — why would someone become Catholic? We started studying the Church Fathers to prove Al wrong, but instead, the Church Fathers kept proving the Catholic Church right! A year later, we became Catholic.

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 6.24.49 PM2) As a high school theology teacher, I have enjoyed showing some of your “Footprints of God” DVDs to my students over the years. What is your favorite site to visit in the Holy Land, and why?

(Picture: Our film crew with Iraqi soldiers)

Oh, my goodness. Well, we’ve been to so many different places. The favorite place that I have visited is Iraq. That is where it all began, with Abraham, who had even worshiped pagan idols (see Joshua 24:2). It was exotic there, but even dangerous; when we were there, ISIS was beginning to come in. It’s hard to get there, and hard to get out, and very difficult to be there, but it was still my favorite.

3) You have written various books – which was your favorite to write, and why?

That’s like asking which of your four kids you like the best. I like each book, but for different reasons. The one that has had the greatest impact is our conversion story, Crossing the Tiber. That was my first, and probably most impactful, of the books. Twenty years later, I am still getting emails from people telling me that that book made them Catholic, and I get a sense of humble joy from that. It’s actually selling more now than when it was written!

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 6.41.50 PM4) Ignatius Press is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary. What have been some of the joys that you have experienced working with Ignatius Press as your publisher over the decades?

(Picture: With many Ignatius staff at 25th Anniversary)

They have been around for 40 years, and I have worked with them for 24 of those years. I would say their loyalty and top quality; everything is so thorough and meticulous, whether grammatically or theologically. They are a marvelous organization. They have really taken care of me and other authors, not only with books, but with DVDs and other media. They have given me free rein to make those movies, and God has a great sense of humor, in letting a former janitor do this, instead of somebody with a Ph.D.

5) If you were to meet someone who had never heard of Jesus, what would you say, in a paragraph or so, to convince him or her that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. John 14:6)?

I would start probably one step before that by telling the person that life demands an explanation: where did this come from? It wasn’t by chance; there had to be a designer. What kind of designer would this be? He would have to be perfect and loving. This God is so amazing that he came down and become one of us. He literally condescended; it’s the scandal of the Incarnation! The angels must have thought: what in the world is he doing? One should look at the big picture about why we are here, and it all points to Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of our redeeming God.

6) I always ask this of my interviewees: what is your favorite scriptural passage, and why?

One stands out, and it may be trivialized by sporting events and so forth, but it is John 3:16. That verse is a summary of the whole Scriptures, and of the heart and mind of God. That verse, in a few words, tells everything in a simple sentence. Everything is wrapped up in that one verse. I am proud to say that my mom gave me $0.50 for every verse that I memorized, and they are all in my mind today.

7) Any parting wisdom for our readers?

My family and I have discovered that the Catholic Church is the best-kept secret in all of human history. We see the humanity of the Church, but it is also, of course, a divine institution. There is no better place to be than in the heart of the Catholic Church, even with everything going on and some people making a lot of mistakes. It is the place where I will live for the rest of my life. I also want to thank Ignatius Press for all they have done, especially through their orthodoxy. Ignatius Press tries new things, such as the use of technology with making my movies. I wish them a good 40th anniversary, and I am glad to have been a small part of it.

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IreneeChurch sm.jpgIn honor of the feast day of St. Irenaeus today I have reposted a blog from several years ago when we were filming our documentary on Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith. Here is the story…

“We finished getting all our work done in Lyon for St. Irenaeus. It was very cold and windy — with snow hampering our efforts. We shot video footage for our upcoming DVD in the Footprints of God video series. This installment will be entitled APOSTOLIC FATHERS: HANDING ON THE FAITH.

(Click on pictures for larger images. Church of St. Irenaeus with the remains of his bones; the theatre in Lyon where St. Irenaeus’ parishioners where martyred)

3Gauls sm.jpgWe shot footage at the old and mostly forgotten Church of Irenee on the hillside of Lyons France. Under the church is the tomb of a man that had an incredible influence on me converting to the Catholic Church. Unhappily, in 1527 the Calvinists destroyed his tomb and threw his bones into the river. Only a few fragments remain.

We also found this ancient Roman Amphitheater which was rediscovered only in 1957. You don’t see it now, but in the 2nd century, this arena floor was soaked with the blood of Christians.

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 10.01.18 AMIn 177 about 45 of our brothers and sisters in the faith were gruesomely tortured and killed here in front of jeering crowds. A woman named Blandine was publically tortured for two days as the crowds cheered. The soldiers exhausted themselves with every ingenious torture they could devise. They cut and inflicted and mutilated her naked body for days.

Blandine never caved in. When they jeered “Deny your Christ and live!” she would only say back “I am a Christian!” The Christians were placed in a iron chair with a raging fire beneath. The smoke and stench of their burning bodies filled the arena. Yet they never caved in. These Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne were true heroes and champions of the Faith. They wrestled to the death and won crowns of life.

I was extremely moved in this location. You can read the full story in Eusebius’ History of the Church. We are grateful to Eusebius for preserving this story of Christian martyrdom and heroism. Here is our DVD Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith with its 28-page Study Guide.

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“Do Nana and Papa live at the airport?”

That’s what some of our grandchildren have asked. And I guess it’s a justified question since were always heading to the airport. We just boarded another plan for Israel for a pilgrimage that we are leading in conjunction with Franciscan University of Steubenville with the president of the university, Fr. Sean Sheridan as the chaplain. Seven more pilgrimages still this year!

3BCFC553-3A62-4C44-8182-F14A0C2D2C23But the cool news is that I soon as we sat in our seat on the plane for Israel we got this picture sent to us. It took a few moments to register but I think you know what it means. Our 16th grandchild is on the way and we couldn’t be happier! I tell all my friends, “Try to catch us now!”

We are also pleased to announce my new book will be published by Ignatius Press in the Fall entitled “The Papacy, What the Pope Does and Why It Matters.”

In July I will be locked away in my house — with my wife as my jail-keeper — so that I can finish up my new book on Genesis which will be published by Ignatius Press hopefully in 2019. I really enjoyed writing this book and we’re just working on the final edits.

In 2020 we are scheduled to shoot and produce the last of our 10-part series in the “The Footprints of God” series entitled “Fathers of the Church: Defining the Faith.”

Whew! Pray for us!!

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Hi-speed Video of Building our Elijah and Elisha Set

June 14, 2018

Watch this time-lapse movie of the crew at Skyline Video building the set we used for our Elijah and Elisha. Very cool! Click on image to the right to see purchase the finished product. June 14 is the Feast Day of St. Elisha the Prophet! Password: SKYLINE

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What Tim Staples said about our new Elijah-Elisha movie

June 5, 2018

Hey Steve, We watched the video the other night WITH THE KIDS! THEY AND WE LOVED IT! Here’s a blurb: This newest from Steve Ray is phenomenal! In the Staples household, not only did mom and dad love it, but the kids were riveted! And they are a tough crowd to please! This video is […]

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Today is St. Justin Martyr’s Feast Day – Free Apostolic Fathers Timeline

May 30, 2018

Feast Day of St. Justin Martyr, June 1 Download a Free copy of the Apostolic Fathers Timeline This amazing Timeline drives home the point of how close these men were to Jesus and the Apostles. It demonstrates how Catholic the first Christians really were!  The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes of […]

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Discussion with Mike Romano at Archangel Radio about Projects including Elijah and Elisha

May 29, 2018

Fun 15 minute show today about out projects, including a short story of how the whole Footprints of God documentaries. We emphasized our latest on Elijah and Elisha. My segments starts at 3:50 minutes into the show.

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My Intro Speech for Elijah and Elisha Premier

March 13, 2018

I didn’t know that my brother was recording this but now I’m glad he did. I’m happy for the tribute I gave to my 96 year old mother at the beginning. She was proud and pleased We thanked Joe Reynolds and Skyline Productions  and the conclusion after the movie.

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World premiere of new “Footprints of God” film on March 9th in Canton, Michigan

March 7, 2018

Host and creator Steve Ray will present and discuss Elijah & Elisha: Conscience of the Kingdom, the ninth film in the popular series from Ignatius Press. March 2, 2018 CWR Staff The Dispatch 2Print Steve Ray, host and producer of the “Footprints of God” series, in Jordan overlooking the Holy Land. (Photo: www.footprintsofgodpilgrimages.com) Steve Ray is best known as […]

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Premier Showing of our New Movie “Elijah & Elisha, Conscience of the Kingdom” – Join Us!

March 1, 2018

World Premier of ELIJAH & ELISHA: CONSCIENCE OF THE KINGDOM Friday, March 9, 2018 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 44800 Warren Road, Canton, MI 48187 TICKETS: $5.00 per person at www.EventBrite.com (Money goes to fund our next movie Doctors of the Church and the Seminarians at Sacred Heart Seminary. […]

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St. Polycarp’s name does not mean “many fish”

February 23, 2018

Today is the Feast Day of the Great Bishop and Saint Polycarp on February 23. When we converted to the Catholic Church my son Jesse chose St. Polycarp as his patron saint because of his great heroism. We filmed the whole life of St. Polycarp on location. I feel like I know him. The name Polycarp […]

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World Premier of Steve Ray’s Newest Film “Elijah & Elisha”

February 19, 2018

YOU ARE INVITED TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “ELIJAH & ELISHA: CONSCIENCE OF THE KINGDOM” The 9th Film in the Award-winning DVD Series from Ignatius Press “The Footprints Of God: The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine.” Friday, March 9, 2018 Film Showing: 7 PM – 8:30 PM; Reception & Light Refreshments: 8:30 – 10 […]

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Short Video with Samples of my Footprints of God series…enjoy!

February 18, 2018

Here is a 15-minute compilation of some of the fun and informative segments of my documentary series The Footprints of God, the Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine” – including me popping out of the coffin :-) Our newest is the 9th DVD in the 10-part series which will be released at a special event in […]

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Steve Ray on EWTN’s “Franciscan University Presents…”

September 2, 2017

Join Host Michael Hernon, panelists Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn, and special guest Steve Ray, Founder of Footprints of God Pilgrimages and Producer of “Abraham: Father of Faith & Works”, as they discuss “Father Abraham” and his role in Salvation History.             Our topic is “Father Abraham” since […]

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Coming Soon! Elijah & Elisha with Steve Ray, Ignatius Press and Skyline Productions

August 14, 2017

Sunday evening we again fly to Phoenix for the last seven days of post-production on our next Footprints of God documentary “Elijah & Elisha: Conscience of the Kingdom.’ We will shoot a few studio scenes with my Segway, record the Behind the Scenes feature and finish up with music, maps, etc. After this one we […]

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Preview of Grasshopper-eating Scene in Elijah Documentary

July 26, 2017

John the Baptist ate grasshoppers (Matt 3:4) and it’s likely, if not certain that Elijah and Elisha did too. When you look at Leviticus 11:22 in the Old Testament you will see that the Israelites were allowed to eat grasshoppers, locusts and crickets. Therefore, it is presumed that they all ate these insects as part […]

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