Holidays/Feast Days

joseph10Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker!

There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or a speck of dirt on his hands and feet.

I understand why artists paint Joseph this way and why churches have statues and images of the flowery, dainty, “European” Joseph with his fair hair. It is because art tries to reveal the inner qualities. This soft art tries to show the righteousness, holiness, kindness and love of a man who cared so deeply for God and his family.

308f4d06baa56b279ed41a7a1b86e31eBut Joseph was anything but a fair-haired, effeminate man with soft skin. Joseph was a manly man. His hands were calloused, his face was brown and creased from the sun, his arms and legs were like iron from walking, lifting and working. Quite the opposite of how he is often portrayed.

We are told that Joseph was a carpenter. The word for carpenter in the Greek of the New Testament is tekton which means one who works with hard materials like wood, stone or metal. 

In short Joseph was a laborer, a redneck, a rock mason. Someone had to quarry the rocks near Nazareth; someone had to chisel them with hammers to shape them for walls, houses, etc. Most historians believe Joseph and Jesus were construction workers helping build the city of Sepphoris.

You see here a few of my favorite pictures of St. Joseph, probably better representing the way he and Jesus really looked. Rough hands, brown face, tussled hair, coarse clothing and dusty feet. Imagine a construction worker, a farmer in the field, a lumberjack or a ditch digger.

tissot-the-anxiety-of-saint-joseph-737x587x72When I first showed this picture of Jesus standing in the wood shavings and dust to a friend with a devotion to St. Joseph he was scandalized. He shouted, “That is NOT St. Joseph!” He had been meditating on the soft, effeminate Joseph, not the rugged working Joseph of the rustic town of Nazareth.

Nazareth was a backwater village with a network of about 25 caves. Very rustic living – no plumbing, no showers, to toilets, no refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines or air conditioners. How would such a life affect you? (In the picture to the right you can see Mary arriving from the well with a jug of water on her head.)

St. Joseph was a manly man and so was Jesus. They give us a good example of masculine men, working hard for their family. They demonstrated the dignity of hard work and the dignity of family life (CCC 533).

St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 3.39.13 PM



{ 1 comment }

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

by Steve Ray on 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 sounds funny to our English ears, but in Greek it comes from two words “poly” meaning many or much, and “carp” meaning fruit. Obviously his Christian parents named him Polycarp along with a prayer that he would bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God — which he did.

To learn the whole story of St. Polycarp, on location, watch our new DVD “Apostolic Fathers: Handing on the Faith” along with a 28-page Study Guide.

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!

Timeline 2 copy_supersmall.jpg




The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes of the Catholic faith never lost courage. Chains, prisons and blood-soaked arenas did not stop the early Christians from witnessing for Christ and handing on the Apostolic Tradition.

Strap on your sandals and step back in time to discover the “Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith”

Comprehensive 28-Page Study Guide
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith
Bloopers and Outtakes
Conversation with Steve Ray and Fr. Benedict Groeschel

English and Spanish subtitles
Feature running time: 90 minutes, extras 30 minutes

Buy it NOW here

Link to Eyewitness Account of his martyrdom. Link to Letter he wrote to Philippians. Link to letter St. Ignatius wrote to Polycarp.

Fascinating Quote from St. Irenaeus about St. Polycarp

“When I was a boy . . . I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his [interaction] with John and with the others who had seen the Lord.

And as he remembered their words, and what he heard from them concerning the Lord, and concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses of the ‘Word of life,’ Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures. These things being told me by the mercy of God, I listened to them attentively, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart. And continually, through God’s grace, I recall them faithfully (Irenaeus quoted in Eusebius, History of the Church 5, 20 in NPNF 2nd, 1:238-139).


On 3 Radio Shows Thursday for Conversion of St. Paul

by Steve Ray on January 24, 2018

D924E64D-AC4E-4EE5-A2A4-5C983CB443D6The conversion of St. Paul’s feast day is Thursday. I have been there – to the very location in Damascus several times. I wept when I was there.

I’ll be on three radio shows on Thursday describing the importance of his conversion, the impact it made on St. Paul, the impact it had on me when I was there and what it meant for the world.

Son Rise Morning Show at 6:35 AM Eastern

Relevant Radio with John Harper at 7:15 AM Eastern

Al Kresta on Ave Maria Radio at 4:00 PM Eastern.


Multiplication of Loaves a Miracle or Just a Lesson in Sharing?

January 7, 2018

When confronted with this at Mass a while ago I wrote a letter to the priest which became an article in Catholic Answers Magazine. Article HERE. The priest said there was no miracle when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish. All he did was teach selfish people to share and they pulled extra loaves and fish from […]

Read the full article →

Mary and the Other Body of Christ; How Many People were in the Upper Room and Why?

January 5, 2018

Since we are IN this room today, I thought I would share this again… The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous […]

Read the full article →

My Show on Catholic Answers Live: “Nativity from Joseph’s Perspective”

December 26, 2017

It was a lot of fun discussing the Nativity from a new angle — from St. Joseph’s perspective. Enjoy!

Read the full article →

Christmas Really Started at the Annunciation – my new favorite Annunciation artwork

December 26, 2017

God became Man in Bethlehem, right? Nope, it was in Nazareth. By the time Mary arrived in Bethlehem to deliver Jesus he had already been human for nine months. At the Annunciation those first cells in Mary’s womb, to small to see with the human eye (though Elizabeth and John the Baptist recognized Him), were […]

Read the full article →

A Baptist Friend Asks: The Bible Says “All have sinned” so how can Mary be Immaculate?

December 8, 2017

A Southern Baptist writes: I am a Southern  Baptist who has a lot of respect for the Catholic faith. The Immaculate Conception is a hard concept for me. Does it also include the belief that Mary never sinned? How does that pass muster with Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the […]

Read the full article →

Two Masses Over Christmas: Sunday and Monday. One Priest dispensed his people from Sunday Mass. Can he do that?

December 4, 2017

The Ray family will happily celebrate Mass on Christmas Eve (Sunday) and Christmas (Monday). Yeah, I know there is a lot going on. I know hams have to cook and presents be presented. But come on … it is the celebration of the birth of Our Savior! One priest thought he would make it easier […]

Read the full article →

Where Have All the Christmas Carols Gone?

December 2, 2017

I’m not that old. I’ll only be 63 years old this month but I still remember when the frosty month of December was filled with marvelous Christmas carols. It was like magic when the first snow covered the ground and the melodies sprang to life and everyone knew them, believed them and sang them with […]

Read the full article →

6 Interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts You Need to Know

November 23, 2017

6 Interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts You Need to Know by Dr Taylor Marshall (Good website!)( When you’re sitting down for that wonderful feast on Thursday, here are 6 interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts you can share with your family. Print them out and read them aloud over some pumpkin (or pecan) pie! The history books will […]

Read the full article →

Joachim & Anna: The Birth and Presentation of Our Lady, from a 2nd Century Document

November 20, 2017

Join us next year on our pilgrimage to see the Saints and Shrines of Italy and to go see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico or join our St. Paul Cruise/Pilgrimage on the Mediterranean!  Visit ************************* FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR BLESSED VIRGIN MARY November 21 “The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin […]

Read the full article →

Visit St. John Lateran with me today for the Feast of Its Dedication

November 9, 2017

I am in Rome and decided to run to St. John Lateran this morning a make a video — so all of you could enjoy the Feast Day of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Church on November 9, 313. Yup, that’s right! It was the first Christian church ever built and it was the […]

Read the full article →

Happy Feast Day of St. Luke, Friend of Mary

October 18, 2017

St Luke: Greek Physician, Historian & Friend of Mary (Feast Day October 18) “Her face shone as she related the stories—the words were vibrant, and though older now, her memory was excellent. He sat enraptured as she brought the past into living color. He had traveled a long way to see her and he sat […]

Read the full article →

Understanding St. Matthew and his Gospel on his Feast Day Today

September 21, 2017

Since it is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, let’s learn a lot about him. Matthew: Understanding the Tax Collector and his Gospel By Steve Ray If looks could kill, he’d be dead. The Jews glared at Levi as he counted his coins. Tax collectors in Israel had great wealth and were considered renegades and […]

Read the full article →

St. Mark: Very Important; Very Little Known

June 17, 2017

To listen to our show about St. Mark on relevant radio: We’re discussing feast of St. Mark at :30 sec mark w/SteveRay@JerusalemJones… or download hour 1 @relevantradio app St. Mark: Very Important Biblical Guy, Yet Relatively Unknown Let me introduce you to him… “His voice boomed over the crowds in Rome as it had all around […]

Read the full article →