Comments & Farewells from Jerusalem!

by Steve Ray on January 7, 2020

Enjoy all the final comments and farewells from this amazing group of families on our Family Christmas Holy Land Pilgrimage.

We do this same family pilgrimage over Christmas break every year.

It has a profound impact on young people and they’re not likely to lose their faith later on in life after having been immersed in the Land here with a truly Catholic pilgrimage.

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Today was a free day—and our last day—and many people went off and did things on their bucket list. However, a lot of others joined us on the Optional Day where we had a lot of fun adventures.

We started with Mass in the morning at the Notre Dame Center (homily here) with the blessing of all of our religious items. Then we jump on the bus and go to the museum and then down 4150 feet to the lowest place on the face of the earth. Lunch in Jericho, viewed the Mountain of Temptation where the Devil tempted Jesus and the Sycamore Tree like the one Zacchaeus climbed up.

We then stopped at Qumran to see Cave No. 4 before floating in the Dead Sea which everyone LOVES. We had 3 Camels ready for all of our pilgrims to ride and it was the fun ending of a great day and a great pilgrimage. The laughs and the screams and the fun are always so enjoyable. We keep the rooms for our pilgrims so that when they return they can shower and pack and come down for dinner before leaving for the airport.

Part Two with Farewells and Comments soon…


Rich day starting with Via Dolorosa and Mass near the Tomb (homily here). Back to Notre Dame to get warm and dry and eat breakfast.

Then to Western Wall, great lunch at Rossini’s, free time explore, 50 International Santa’s, Holy Shroud Exhibit and dinner on the roof.


Mount of Olives and Mount Zion

January 4, 2020

Today was very intensive following the ministry of Jesus Christ. We started at Gethsemane for a very emotional Mass at the rock where He sweat drops of blood (homily here). We saw olive trees over 2000 years old that were there when Jesus was in his agony. We went to the top of the Mount […]

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Mount Tabor, Cana & Nazareth; Dinner at Magdelena

December 31, 2019

Third day started early to beat the crowds to Mount Tabor. Taxi vans up the mountain for Mass at the site of the Transfiguration (homily here). Renewal of wedding vows at Cana and my talk on St. John chapter 2 (Watch talk here). Lunch in Nazareth before visiting Church of Annunciation and praying the First […]

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Wow, did everyone look better today after a good nights sleep in Galilee!

December 31, 2019

After arriving in Tel Aviv and spending the first night in Tiberias, the group sure looked more refreshed and ready to go this morning. We took off for Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes before heading north to the upper tip of Israel, driving along the border with Lebanon. We went to Caesarea Philippi, which […]

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Two Buses of Families Arrive in Tel Aviv

December 30, 2019

This is our annual Holy Land Pilgrimage for families over Christmas break. It’s very smart to bring young people here and immerse them in the land of Jesus to have experiences they will never forget. We do teaching for the young people to help ground them in the Catholic faith. We want the Bible to […]

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Pictures from Christmas in Jerusalem

December 27, 2019

Janet and I arrived a few days before our group of families arrive for our Christmas Family Holy Land Pilgrimage. We took a few pictures while walking around today and thought you might enjoy them.

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Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

December 18, 2019

(Picture: Aerial view of Nativity Church in Bethlehem) In a few days we are leaving for Bethlehem. We will have Mass next week at a lot of holy sites with our group of Catholic families. To the left is a picture of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. How do we know this is really […]

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Month of May Marian Pilgrimage thru Fatima, Lourdes, Santiago de Compostela and more

December 5, 2019

What a great pilgrimage to celebrate our Blessed Mother in the month of May. This is an adventure planned by Steve & Janet Ray and the Footprints of God. The best Catholic guide, hotels, bus, daily Masses, restaurants and sites. Our dear friend and marvelous priest Fr. Abel Ruiz along with Deacon Roy Gonzales will […]

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At Israel Museum Steve Uses Temple Model to Illustrate How the Temple Demonstrates Our Salvation

November 28, 2019

While visiting the Temple Model in the Israel Museum, few people understand what they are looking at. The Temple tells the whole story of our salvation and the relationship between the Old Testament and New. In this 5-minute video I talk about Jew and Gentile, circumcision and faith. I hope this helps you understand the […]

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Did Catholics Invent Pilgrimages?

November 22, 2019

No, it was something the Holy Family and all Jews did at least once a year! Look what the Catechism says: “[Jesus’] public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts” (583). And the Psalmist wrote: “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage” (Psa […]

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Pilgrimage Farewells & Comments from Spirit Catholic Radio Pilgrims

November 22, 2019

The pilgrimage is finally coming to an end and what a fabulous pilgrimage it was! Jim Carroll and his family, staff, Board members and volunteers were marvelous and we enjoyed everyone of them. The people were very punctual and disciplined which made for very smooth traveling. This video is the end of our pilgrimage with […]

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Day 8: Via Dolorosa, Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall and more with Spirit Catholic Radio

November 22, 2019

It’s awful early when your alarm rings at 4 AM but everyone thanked us later. We arrived at Herod’s Gate and started the Via Dolorosa at 4:45. It’s the best time when there are no crowds in the streets. We had Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the Holy Sepulchre Church then walked to […]

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Day 7: Museum, Jordan River, Jericho, Qumran, Dead Sea & Camels

November 21, 2019

Today is always a favorite. Some people stay behind to rest or visit friends, pray or visit sites they have their heart set on. But most of the folks join our optional excursion where we have a lot of fun. Enjoy!

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Day 6: Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Mount Zion, Upper Room & more

November 19, 2019

Moving 3 buses around is always a challenge but it’s going as smooth as silk and everyone is very happy. We are covering all the bases and doing it was great organization and joy! Today we started out with Mass and talks at Gethsemane. This is always a very moving place for people. From there […]

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