Did St. Paul Pray for the Dead? Yes!

by Steve Ray on June 17, 2018

rembrandt_apostle_paul217x275St. Paul wrote 2 Timothy shortly before his martyrdom. He spent the last days of his life in the Mammertine Prison in Rome, north of the Roman Forum. While in that prison he wrote to Timothy and says a prayer for a man dead man.

“It seems apparent that St. Paul DOES pray for the dead. Here is my short article that gives a pretty clear example of St. Paul praying for a dead man, a man named Onesiphorus.

This will be interesting for those who deny prayer for the dead and must find supposedly find everything explicitly in the Bible before they are willing to believe it.

Does the Bible record St. Paul praying for a dead man? Does the New Testament relate an incident of prayer for the dead? It seems quite certain that it does.

Let’s begin with Onesiphorus—a faithful Christian who cared for St. Paul while he was in prison and who took great personal risk to serve the apostle. He was such a good man that Paul writes, “[Onesiphorus] often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains” and “he searched for me eagerly and found me” and “you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus” (2 Tim 1:16-18).

But from all indications—certainly from the words Paul uses—Onesiphorus has died or been killed before Paul wrote Second Timothy. Almost all commentators concede that Onesiphorus had probably died—maybe even martyred during Nero’s persecution.

Paul speaks of him in the past tense and strangely asks for God’s mercy on his “household” without mentioning him, as though he was no longer here. Because Onesiphorus had served so well and was no longer alive, Paul prays for God’s blessing on his surviving family.

All implications are that Onesiphorus has died. But Paul prays for him!

In 2 Timothy 1:18, while in prison awaiting his death, Paul prays for the dead man and it is recorded in the Bible. Here is what St. Paul writes, “May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day.” This is not just an expression of sentimental emotion—this is a prayer for a man who has died, it is prayer for the dead.

Paul, who was earlier known as Saul the Pharisee, was well immersed in the teaching and tradition of the Pharisaical Jews. The Jews prayed for the dead and Paul would not have seen the practice as egregious or unbiblical; rather, he would have viewed prayer for the dead as a proper practice for a Jew, and also now for a Christian who believes in the afterlife.

Here is what the widely respected six-volume Anchor Bible Dictionary writes……”

To read the article, click Prayer for the Dead: Did St. Paul Do This?


Here’s why a pilgrimage is an important aspect of the spiritual life

It corresponds to something deep within our heart.

One spiritual devotion that spans all major religions is the action of going on pilgrimage. It is an ancient concept, one that appears to correspond with a basic desire in the human heart.

The practice of embarking on a journey to seek spiritual aid at a particular shrine goes back thousands of years. The Greeks went to Delphi, Peruvians to Cuzco, Buddhists to Kapilavastu, Muslims to Mecca and Jews to Jerusalem. Wherever a miraculous event occurred or a deity was located, people flocked to it in order to perform some sort of religious activity.

Naturally, this type of spiritual expression found a fitting place in Christianity. From the very beginning Christians were drawn to locations where heaven met earth, with the Holy Land being the primary place of pilgrimage.

Early on Christians not only visited those places where Jesus walked, but also the cities, tombs and churches of the saints and martyrs. They wanted to be at the exact spot where St. Peter was executed in Rome, or the place where the body of St. James was miraculously transported. It allowed them to draw closer to these heroes of the faith and to ratify their existence.

Yet, there is more to pilgrimage than simply visiting the places of these historical events and people. Pope Benedict XVI explained the spiritual dimension of pilgrimage when visiting Santiago de Compostela.

To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church adds another dimension as well, reminding us that going on pilgrimage is a summary of our earthly lives.

Pilgrimages evoke our earthly journey toward heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. For pilgrims seeking living water, shrines are special places for living the forms of Christian prayer “in Church.” (CCC 2691)

It is a basic belief of the Christian faith that humans are “pilgrims” or “exiles” on the earth. This is expressed in the word “parish,” a word used to denote a local Catholic congregation. It is derived from the Greek paroikos, meaning “a sojourner.” This word is used in the Acts of the Apostles where Stephen speaks about the history of the Jewish people, explaining how they were “aliens in a land not their own” (Acts 7:6). In this way a parishioner is truly a “sojourner,” a pilgrim journeying towards his/her heavenly homeland.

Going on pilgrimage, then, is an important aspect of the spiritual life. The pilgrimage could be something as difficult as going to the Holy Land, or as simple as visiting the local parish church or shrine. Whatever type of pilgrimage it is, the action corresponds to a desire in our hearts to arrive at a place of light, refreshment and peace. It speaks to that interior desire that God placed within each one of us and reminds us that we should live our daily lives understanding that this world is not our home, but a preparation for our eternal home of Heaven.


Ireland and Israel Summer Pilgrimages SOLD OUT

by Steve Ray on June 1, 2018

Happy to announce our June Israel trip and August Ireland trips are SOLD OUT!

We still have limited seats open for our Fall trips: Jordan-Israel, St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise, Mexico-Guadalupe and Family Christmas Holy Land.

Check out our “still open” pilgrimages at www.FootprintsOfGod.com.


Saints and Shrines of France WITH 75th Anniversary of D-Day at Beaches of Normandy

May 30, 2018

Join us in France! We have the opportunity to fulfill two great objectives: 1) See the unprecedented saints and shrines of France, and 2) Remember our men who fought in World War II on the beaches of Normandy on the 75 Anniversary of D-Day. We will visit the most amazing churches soaring into the sky […]

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Pilgrimage Farewells and Comments from Jerusalem

May 25, 2018

Here are some of the final farewells and comments from the pilgrimage. It’s always fun to hear what people thought and how the pilgrimage affected their lives. Janet also gives her little speech at the end which many have found to be very profound and helpful.

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Riding Camels, Floating in Dead Sea, Qumran, Jericho, Brother Charles’ Story and more

May 24, 2018

Enjoy a marvelous and fun camel-riding, Dead Sea floating, museum visiting and walking thru 1st century Jerusalem day! Fr. Dan’s closing homily and final pilgrimage blessings here.

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Early AM Stations of the Cross, Touching Calvary, Mass at Tomb, Western Wall and more

May 23, 2018

First video covers early morning (3:45 AM – 9:00 AM) Via Dolorosa, touching top of Calvary and Mass at the Tomb — very special and emotional for the folks. Second video covers the rest of the day. Including Western Wall and later dinner on the roof of Jerusalem. PART ONE: PART TWO:

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Day 6: Gethsemane, New US Embassy, Mt. of Olives, Upper Room, Mt. Zion and Special Entry into Tomb

May 22, 2018

Started with very moving Mass at Gethsemane with lots of tears and a fantastic homily you can watch here. Paternoster Church and Ascension on Mount of Olives. Viewing American flags waiving with Israeli flags in the streets. Viewed the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. Lunch at Kibbutz and everything Mount Zion: Dormition of Mary, Upper […]

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All Day Birth of Christ and Bethlehem

May 21, 2018

Driving thru Wall around Bethlehem, Shopping spectacular, Mass in Cave in Bethlehem, Shwarma or Falafil?, touching birthplace of Jesus, Carmelite Convent, and dinner with Passover Lamb and dancing. Click here for Fr. Dan’s Bethlehem homily. PART ONE: PART TWO:

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Mass at Capernaum, Eating St. Peter’s Fish, Visitation and Arriving in JERUSALEM!

May 20, 2018

Today was Pentecost Sunday which is very special for Janet and I and our family. It was 24 years ago today that we were received into the Catholic Church with tears of joy. My eyes welled up with tears many times today just recalling that event while we’re traveling through the Holy Land. What a […]

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Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Syrian Border, Tabgha, Primacy & Feast

May 19, 2018

Another great day! Fr. Dan’s excellent homily at Beatitudes Here. Much of Steve’s talk about Peter at Caesarea Philippi here. PART 1 PART 2

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Transfiguration, Cana, Nazareth- Enjoy!

May 18, 2018

Enjoy  our first full day in the Holy Land. It’s always great to start with Mass at the Mount of Transfiguration and Fr. Dan did not disappoint us with his homilies at Transfiguration and Cana.

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Arrival in Israel; Mass on Shore of Galilee!

May 17, 2018

Everyone arrived in the Tel Aviv Airport safely and ready to go. We’re all excited for another excellent pilgrimage following our Lord and Lady.  Enjoy our arrival, trip up to Tiberias and Mass and the Sea of Galilee.  Very appropriate first Mass to open a Pilgrimage HERE.

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Arrival in Israel; Mass on Shore of Galilee!

May 17, 2018

Everyone arrived in the Tel Aviv Airport safely and ready to go. We’re all excited for another excellent pilgrimage following our Lord and Lady.  Enjoy our arrival, trip up to Tiberias and Mass and the Sea of Galilee.  Very appropriate first Mass to open a Pilgrimage HERE.

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How Well Do You Know Jesus and His Land? Multiple Choice Questions.

May 17, 2018

Here is a fun quiz to test your knowledge. How much do you know about Jesus and his Land? Answers are below in the Comments but DON’T CHEAT until you give it a hero’s try! 1. We have no record of Jesus visiting which place? a. The Phoenician Coast b. Tiberias c. Egypt d. Nain 2. […]

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Is it Safe to Join your Holy Land Trip with All that’s Going On?

May 15, 2018

Greetings from Jerusalem! I received this e-mail from a pilgrim registered for our September Holy Land Pilgrimage. Here is her question and my response: Hi Steve, Should we be concerned about our trip in September with all that’s going on there now? Dear Concerned Pilgrim: Not at all. I am in Jerusalem now and it […]

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