Sent A Jewish Son to Israel

by Steve Ray on November 17, 2017

three-jewish-men-700x525A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, “Papa, I had a great time in Israel . By the way, I converted to Christianity.”

“Oy vey,” said the father. “What have I done?” He took  his problem to his best friend, Ike.

“Ike,” he said, “I sent my son to Israel , and he came home a Christian. What can I do?”

“Funny you should ask,” said Ike. “I too, sent my son to Israel , and he also came home a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the rabbi.”

So they did, and they explained their problem to the rabbi.

“Funny you should ask,” said the rabbi. “I, too, sent my son to Israel , and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young people?”

And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about their sons…

As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the Heavens: “Funny you should ask,” said the Voice… “I, too, sent my Son to Israel . . .”


A Father-Son Story

by JesseRay on November 16, 2017

By Fr. Joseph Fessio

2018 will be the 40th anniversary of Ignatius Press. There are many stories I could tell about all the blessings God has showered upon us during that time. But one story is especially pertinent because it’s also about the next forty years of Ignatius Press—and it’s one we hope you’ll consider being a part of.

It’s a father-son story of conversion, grace, and service of the Lord

Part 1: The Father

In 1994 we received a manuscript from a young, enthusiastic, Evangelical Protestant who, with his wife and four children, had recently come into full communion with the Catholic Church. It was called Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church. The author was Stephen K. Ray.

It was a compellingly written manuscript and we all agreed we should publish it. There was one drawback. It seemed the author, who had spent his youth memorizing Bible verses, had skipped some of his grammar classes.

A red pencil, referenced in this letter, worn down to a nub.

The famous red pencil! Read the letter for its story.

So Carolyn Lemon, our production editor who was with me at the press’s founding in 1978, took out her long red pencil and went to work. When she finished, it was a short red pencil. We sent it to Steve and he has it enshrined over his writing desk as an aid to Steve’s humility and a reminder to watch those dangling participles.

The book was a great success—both in sales and in evangelization. And Steve has gone on to write two more books for us: Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church and St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary.

But these were just the beginning of a much more ambitious project: A ten-part video series on Old Testament prophets, Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, and early Fathers of the Church. All shot on location and narrated by Steve the Indomitable. It’s called The Footprints of God and over fourteen years Steve and we have completed eight episodes, with the ninth in postproduction.

The Footprints of God series has been enthusiastically received by hundreds of thousands of viewers. But filming them is expensive—as well as dangerous—and we’re hoping you’ll help us finish the series in time for our 40th anniversary.

Part 2: The Son

Footprints of God host Steve Ray riding a horse in front of an Egyptian pyramid.

Steve Ray on location film­ing The Foot­prints of God

More important to Steve and his wife, Janet, than this work for the worldwide Church was their commitment to their own ‘domestic Church’, their growing family. They wanted to pass on their Faith to their children and encourage them to be apostles also.

One of them, Jesse, began working for Lighthouse Catholic Media in Sycamore, IL, soon taking charge of the warehouse where Lighthouse’s Catholic books, CDs, and art were stored and shipped. After Lighthouse’s partial merger with the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO, the remaining operations stayed in Sycamore under a new name: 5 Stones. (Think of the five stones young David put in his slingshot pouch for his battle with Goliath.)

Ignatius formed a partnership of sorts with 5 Stones and we co-own a warehouse in nearby DeKalb.

Then last year the situation changed radically. Our good friend Neil McCaffrey, who with his brother Gene and their colleagues had been warehousing our books and fulfilling your orders for almost as long as Ignatius Press has been in existence, decided to retire and sell his warehouse— so he could get into politics!

The warehouse in DeKalb isn’t large enough to handle all our inventory (42 semi-trailers’ worth!), and there’s no room for expansion, so we decided to build a larger warehouse both to house all our books and to be the office for 5 Stones, which will provide fulfillment and other services for Ignatius Press as well as for a growing number of other Catholic organizations.

Cranes and poles supporting a concrete wall that is a part of Ignatius Press's new warehouse.

The walls of our new ware­house going up.

That’s where Jesse Ray’s help has proven invaluable. He worked with me closely on the design of a warehouse that would be ideal for the future needs of Ignatius Press and 5 Stones. And it’s really magnificent. Construction started in May of this year, and is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year—if we can pay for the completion.

You see, there’s a small problem—caused entirely by me. When I made a rough estimate of the cost of the land and new warehouse—upon which estimate we bought the property and engaged a local contractor—I was a little off. Only about $2 million, though.

We dug deep in our pockets, and then had some providential but totally unexpected help from one of our dedicated readers. A generous donor made a substantial contribution to help. So we’re close to being able to finish the warehouse—but not there yet.

View of the warehouse being built, mostly metal and concrete.

An aerial view of constr­uc­tion.

To finish the job of building the warehouse, we need $850,000. To complete the final episode of The Footprints of God, we need $250,000.

We rarely ask for substantial financial support for our work. But circumstances have moved us to do so in this case. I am writing this message because I regard Ignatius Press readers as an important part of our “missionary team”.

People sometimes think of Ignatius Press as a large corporation. That is probably partly the result of our marketing department doing such a great job getting the word out about our books and films.

In fact, we are a relatively small apostolate, with several Catholic families and others involved, trying to serve the mission of the Church through publishing books and distributing videos.

Covers for severals Footprints of God movies.

Some of the films in the award-winn­ing Foot­prints of God series

We’re praying that you will be inspired to help us move into our next forty years of providing solid Catholic books and films by helping Steve Ray, Jesse Ray, and the rest of the Ignatius Press family finish both The Footprints of God and our new warehouse. There are three ways to donate—choose whichever method is easiest for you!

  • Donate securely online. Simply click one of these links and you’ll be taken directly to a secure PayPal page to donate. No PayPal account is necessary to use this online donation feature.
  • Support the New Warehouse
  • Support Footprints of God
  • Call us at 1-800-651-1531 and let us know how much you’d like to donate, and to which project.
  • Or send us a check in the mail using the form found here.

All donations are tax-deductible. To claim your deduction when donating online, be sure to provide your full address so that we can send you a letter for your records.

Thank you so much for whatever financial help you can give us to finish these two major IP projects! We greatly appreciate your support for the mission of Ignatius Press.

Sincerely in the Lord,

Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ
Editor, Ignatius Press

Source: Help Fund the Work of Ignatius Press


Holy Land Pilgrimage Final Farewells and Comments

by Steve Ray on 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!


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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Evangelicals with Statues?

November 16, 2017

A while ago I took off running through a commercial area behind the hotel where I was staying while doing a parish mission. I discovered a nice jogging trail through the woods so I swung onto the trail and headed through the trees. Soon I came into the open to see a beautiful lake. A […]

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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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A Friend Meets Mormon Missionaries

November 15, 2017

Fr. Tom Smith, from a long line of Mormons back to Joseph Smith, tells why he converted to the Catholic Church. Read it HERE A friend wrote about Mormons below: I was doing a little shopping that day. Since I was in the neighborhood of a friend, I thought, I will stop by for a […]

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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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What City Did Paul Love the Best? Probably the Most Corrupt City in the Roman Empire.

November 14, 2017

Every year I take people to the city with people that Paul loved the most. He wrote four letters to them even though only two remain extant. Paul lived with these new Christians for 18 months and cared for them above all others. What city could this be? None other than Corinth. Enjoy our video […]

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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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Interesting Discussion with Jewish Professor at Amsterdam Airport

November 13, 2017

Good stories originate and are told in airports. Today at a layover in Amsterdam, between Detroit and Tel Aviv Janet was thirsty. The only vending machine took Euros. I had only dollars and shekels. She said, “But I am so thirsty.” An dignified Jewish man sitting nearby said, “I think I have some Euros I […]

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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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Did Solomon’s Mother Bathsheba Demonstrate Mary is NOT a Good Intercessor?

November 12, 2017

I put up a post a few days ago with a video of my talk in Ephesus about Mary being Queen of Heaven and an Intercessor for the people of God’s kingdom. Someone wrote to object saying, It is interesting Steve, as to what you left out in your reference to 1 Kings 2:19 , Solomon’s Mother […]

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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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St. Paul Walks Passed the Brothal

November 11, 2017

Every time I visit Ephesus I show my tour group my favorite  things in this ancient city. We filmed here for our Paul and Mary DVDs and have brought groups here on numerous occasions. One of my favorite things to show people in Ephesus is the Billboard for the Brothel that is carved into a […]

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