Pilgrimage

Security Issues in Israel – Safe to Go with Steve?

by Steve Ray on December 8, 2017

UPDATE 12/11/17:  Watching the mainstream media today and making  a few observations. 1) The images they keep showing are not current events but are pulled from stock video footage from the past. I doubt that any of the images of rockthrowing and tear gas is current video. 2) They are making this violence, which is very small at this point, look like it’s all taking place in Jerusalem which is not the case. If there are these kind of confrontations they are happening inside the West Bank and Gaza, not in Israel. There is NOTHING happening in northern Israel and the Galilee area and whatever’s happening in Jerusalem is small and minor. This morning we hear about a bomb that was blown up in New York City.  Having been in Jerusalem over 150 times and in New York a good number of times as well, I can say I feel safer in Jerusalem then I do in New York. And, a simple question: why does a minor dustup in Israel make headline news for days whereas in Chicago alone over 600 people have been killed by violence this year and we never hear a word about it? ORIGINAL POST:  They are happening inside the West Bank and then Caza. There is NOTHING happening in northern Israel and the Galilee area and whatever’s happening in Jerusalem is small and minor. I was asked about the safety of Israel for our upcoming trips in December and January. Here is my response to the priest: No problems for our pilgrimages. I am taking 106 people in two weeks. The news seems more hype than reality. I expect it to blow over and you won’t even remember it a month from now. Your folks in January have the nice convenience of watching the daily videos of our trip going over Christmas break. They can see for themselves how safe and secure it is. My major fear and concern in Israel right now are the crowds of tourists and pilgrims that are cramming into the holy sites! One day we were there in October they calculated over 150,000 tourists in Jerusalem alone. Bus parking lots which usually hold many buses quite well now have buses double parked and overflowing into the streets, enough to block traffic — we’ve never seen it like this before. On our last two trips we were not even able to get down to the birthplace of Christ to touch the 14-pointed star marking his birthplace because the lines were four hours long. Today (12/8/17) was supposedly going to be the “Day of Rage“ but what happened? Basically nothing. All the 100,000+ Muslims went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem today without incident. If there was going to be a problem, that’s where it would have been. I have been watching the news -- not on American media but the Jerusalem Post and other local Israel news. It looks like the few groups that are protesting are small. Gaza, which is far away from anywhere we going is trying to be heard but not much. Seems to me the same old, same old — a lot of American news-hype especially because the US media are continually trying to make Trump look bad. I’ve learned to pay very little attention to them and go to the source which includes Israeli news and my friends over there. Write me personally anytime to discuss this if you'd like. My email is sray@me.com. Also feel free to give me your phone number so we can talk if you'd like. Let other pilgrims know we are moving ahead with confidence. From all of my experience of 20+ years I am not nervous at all and my trips are full steam ahead.

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Here is the show aired a few weeks ago on EWTN. It was my appearance on the Franciscan University Presents with Dr. Scott Hahn, Michael Hernon and Dr. Regis Martin. It was a fun show about “Abraham: Father of Faith and Works” and the whole story of salvation.

Enjoy!

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Archbishop Lucas’ Closing Remarks

by Steve Ray on November 27, 2017

 

Group Photo

Click to see the full-size photo.

Pilgrimage Group photo - Fatima/Lourdes

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Final Farewells and Comments

November 16, 2017

It is always fun to hear what people have to say about the pilgrimage we just completed. They’re enjoyable, interesting and worth listening to. Enjoy!

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Day 8: Final Day Riding Camels, Swimming in Dead Sea and more

November 16, 2017

Today is the last day and a lot of fun. We visit the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, ride camels and have lunch in Jericho. And that’s not all — there’s a whole lot more. Enjoy this video of our final day!

For the homily of the concluding Mass, click here.

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Day 7: Via Dolorosa, Mass at Calvary, Western Wall, Free Afternoon, Dinner on Roof of Jerusalem

November 15, 2017

Today was our very early morning. We wanted to walk the Via Dolorosa before the sun rose and arrive at Calvary with our hand held olivewood crosses. We all touched the top of Calvary and had Mass at the foot of the cross. Homily here. We also went to the Western Wall and then had […]

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Day 6: Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Upper Room, Passover Lamb, DANCING and more

November 14, 2017

Great day in the land of our Lord and Lady. Great homily at Gethsemane here. Lots of amazing sites and experiences. Enjoy the dancing!

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Day 5: Bethlehem All Day, Solemn Entry into the Holy Tomb

November 13, 2017

There are an unprecedented number of people in the Holy Land right now. I have never seen this many people in my 25 years of coming here and the guides and locals are saying they’ve never seen anything like it. Today in Bethlehem there were loads of groups everywhere. That came from all over the […]

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Day 4: Mass at Capernaum, Boat Ride, Eating St Peters Fish, Visitation and Arrival in Jerusalem

November 12, 2017

Today we started with Mass at the Purham where Jesus said “Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood“. I gave my talk entitled “Defending the Eucharist.“ You can see/hear Fr. Nathan‘s emotional how lonely here. Next we saw the ancient boat from the time of Jesus and we also went on a real boat out […]

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Mass at Capernaum, Boat Ride in Galilee, Conversion Story, Visitation and Jerusalem!

November 12, 2017

Today we started with Mass at the Purham where Jesus said “Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood“. I gave my talk entitled “Defending the Eucharist.“ You can see/hear Fr. Nathan‘s emotional how lonely here. Next we saw the ancient boat from the time of Jesus and we also went on a real boat out […]

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Day 3: Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Syria, Multiplication, Primacy and more

November 11, 2017

Northern Galilee had all of our attention today. Starting out with the Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes. Always hard to get people out of there it’s such a beautiful place :-)  Fr. Nathan‘s homily was exceptional and passionate and you can see/hear it here. Up to Caesarea Philippi were Jesus said “You Are Rock!“ […]

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Day 2: Cana of Galilee, Annunciation in Nazareth, Holy Family, Mt. of Transfiguration

November 10, 2017

We started our day in Cana of Galilee and the renewing of our wedding vows. Always an emotional and moving experience. From there we went to Nazareth to visit the Church of Annunciation and where I gave my talk “A Day in the Life of the Holy Family”. And authentic Nazarene lunch and then onto […]

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“Life is about the Journey, not the Destination!” Huh?!

November 10, 2017

“Life is all about the Journey, not the Destination!” (paraphrase of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.) I saw this sign at the airport recently. Imagine! In an airport of all places! What stupidity! Grab a passenger arriving at the airport to catch a flight and shout, “Hey, take any flight you want sir, it […]

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Franciscan University Group Arrives in Israel!

November 9, 2017

Everyone arrived in Tel Aviv safely and excited. Uneventful departure from the airport and drive up to Galilee. We settled into our hotel in Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee. We had our first Mass on the shore of Galilee. Hear/see Fr. Nathan‘s excellent 1st Pilgrimage homily Here. Enjoy!

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What Does God See When He Opens His Eyes?

November 8, 2017

Since we are in Capernaum today – where Jesus said, “Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood.” I thought it would be appropriate to post again this popular blog post that explains the Sacrifice of the Mass. Recently we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, […]

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Excellent Talk by Rev. Billy Graham – A Message for Our Time and a Blast from My Past (video fixed)

November 7, 2017

I have a soft spot in my heart for this man because he has had a PROFOUND impact on our family. It was his message over the airwaves in 1953 that first brought my mom to Christ and my mom and dad then brought us boys to a living and vibrant knowledge of Jesus Christ.  […]

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