Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Steve Ray here to share with you our great day with 50 excited pilgrims. We try to stay with a smaller, one-bus group to give folks a marvelous, intimate and personal – and the best Catholic experience possible in the Holy Land.

Pope Paul VI called the Holy Land the 5th Gospel and we take it as our mission to help our pilgrims “read” this 5th Gospel. 

Today we visited Mount Tabor to celebrate Mass at the place of the Transfiguration where we prayed the Mystery of that event. Then to Cana of Galilee to renew our wedding vows.

Nazareth is always a blessing – where we stand where Mary stood when the Angel Gabriel came to announce the good news to her. I also give my talk ” A Day in the Life of the Holy Family” in the cave where Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived their Silent Thirty Years in Nazareth. 

Hope you enjoy the videos for today. The first video is our pilgrimage and second is Fr. Chris’ excellent homily at the Church of the Transfiguration.

Adventures for Today in the Holy Land


Fr. Chris Alar’s Homily (priest with Marians of the Immaculate Conception)



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A Day of Retreat .. or maybe a Life…

by Steve Ray on May 13, 2015

Looks like a fun lot to spend time with!

I recently received an invitation to a retreat at a monastery in Massachusetts. Maybe some day I will have the time to go. But they also are inviting young men to come and take a look. Fr. Dunstan and I met at a men’s conference not long ago.

Want to break away from the hectic world to spend time with God — on a retreat or for the rest of your life? Get in contact with Fr. Dunstan Robertson OSB. I told him if I had three lives to live, one of them would probably be spent with them :-)  Their website is His email is:

Here is what he wrote to me:

   First,  we are having a Monastic Experience Weekend (Be a Monk for 48 hours) for single men 18-40,  Fri 29  – Sun 31 May 2015.  We would be grateful if you could make this known in any way you think suitable.  For fuller information, attached to a separate email are a poster, a supporting letter and a vocations flyer.    We would be additionally grateful if you sent it on to anyone you think would like to know – or ought to know!

Click on this image to see "A Day in the Life of the Monks?

    Second.  Though our community is about 25 years old, we are a little off the ecclesial radar.  Most people do not know that we have a guest house.  We would be delighted to see the guest house more used, by clergy and lay, individual and groups – even if only within the day.  With the necessary Child Protection Guidelines followed, it is also available for school groups. 

But it would be especially pleasing to welcome more guests from the ‘Vocations world’:  Vocations Directors, discerners, seminarians, those on pre-ordination retreats etc.  Not for us to ‘poach’.  We think that monasteries can be helpful places to see the next steps forward for many people, but especially so for those directly involved with finding/ discovering/ supporting Vocations.  You meet a lot of people doing just that and…..

  Our web site gives more details on the guesthouse, but in brief: 16 rooms, 18 bed, m & f, 1980’s student accommodation, self-catering, no fixed charge donations if you wish; divine office 7x/day and daily mass, all Vatican II but in Latin Gregorian chant with English readings; liturgy shared with twin community of OSB Sisters (a story in itself; see their web site at ; which also gives details of their similar but different dates Monastic Experience Weekend). 

    Third, I’m (very!) English and from our mother house of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland (  For historical reasons, there we are more involved in the life of the local Church.  Guests include school groups, youth groups, clergy groups, college groups etc; plus individuals, especially individual clergy and religious; and not least, those heroic lay people whose journey to sanctity involves working professionally for the Church! 

  Your job Steve, involves you around the engine room of the Church.  And requires you to travel not just almost as much as the Pope but in fact even more than him!  So you  especially feel  the gears of the Church clunk, hear the machinery creak…So if you – or any of your colleagues, clergy or lay  – ever want to switch off the cell phone, close the briefcase and come and hide, you would be most welcome.