St. Augustine near Piazza Navona

Since we leave for Rome today to pick up our 80 pilgrims for a pilgrimage through Italy, Greece and Turkey, I thought I would post this article so you can see some of the churches we will visit. 

Here is the portion of the article in which I contributed. Teresa Tomeo also shares her favorite churches.

With Mother’s Day approaching, San Agostino, or St. Augustine, is a great place to visit, says Steve Ray, a tour guide whose company, The Footprints of Godleads frequent pilgrimages to Rome.

The church pays tribute to St. Augustine and houses the remains of his mother, who famously prayed for his conversion to Christianity for more than 30 years. There’s a statue inside of Mary with the Baby Jesus, and women experiencing difficult pregnancies often come to pray. (Ray attributes this to the healthy birth of one of his grandchildren.) The church also houses famous paintings by Raffaello and Caravaggio…

San Stefano Rotundo, Church of the Martyrs

St. Stephen’s in the Round is dedicated to Christian martyrs, including those who died in the gladiator games at the nearby Colosseum. “It’s very special, because most of the churches in Rome are not round,” says Ray.

Dating from the 5th century, the inner sanctum is filled with graphic oil paintings that depict many of the gruesome tortures endured by martyrs. It may not be the best place to take young children, but Ray says it’s a popular spot for weddings. St. Stephen, considered the first Christian martyr, is buried here, and it is believed that the Roman emperor Nero feasted at the site. “The church’s modest exterior and its off-the-beaten path location make it one pilgrims might consider skipping,” says Nowell. “But by doing so, they will miss a truly unforgettable experience.”

Click here for the whole article.

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Synod Surprise

by Steve Ray on October 22, 2014

Posted by MARK BRUMLEY on Tuesday Oct 21st, 2014 at 5:23 PM
COMMENTARY ON SYNOD ON THE FAMILY

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Those expecting big changes in Catholic teaching in the final report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family just encountered the “God of surprises,” to use Pope Francis’ expression. No big changes.

Of course, the interim report surprised people, too. Apparently, someone “adjusted” it to fit a certain approach to issues concerning homosexual persons, civilly remarried Catholics, and Communion and cohabitation. This approach wasn’t generally shared by the synod fathers, despite everyone’s desire to be inclusive and merciful. That made the report a misrepresentation. Surprise.

Media “spun” the story, essentially saying that the Catholic Church had “caved in,” to use George Weigel’s expression. The Church is changing her teaching, they said. The story was wrong. No surprise.

What surprised many was the bishops’ pushback. Many openly criticized the interim report. They began taking more responsibility for their own “messaging.” Even some of the so-called “progressive” voices severely qualified things:

Mercy, inclusivity and respect for human dignity doesn’t mean anything goes, many bishops noted. Human dignity isn’t a blank check to do as we please. Disapproving of certain things doesn’t mean we don’t know that people do other, praiseworthy things. Even bad actions sometimes have positive elements, which don’t, of course, make the bad things good. None of this needs to compromise Catholic teaching. We should praise faithful Catholic families. And so on.

Told by synod leadership that the bishops’ small-group reports wouldn’t be available to the public, the bishops balked. The small-group reports were published.

The final report of the synod aligns with Catholic teaching.

Some observers compared the synod’s discussion to Vatican II. Good comparison. The Roman Curial leadership at the Second Vatican Council wanted the bishops to “rubber stamp” the prepackaged documents. The bishops said, “No.” Similarly, some synod fathers tried to get a “rubber stamp” on a misrepresentative interim report. The bishops said, “No.”

Surprise.

The African bishops, who a few European participants seemed to want to marginalize, spoke out. Why shouldn’t their contributions to the universal Church be considered? The Pope added South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, one of the most outspoken critics of the interim report, to the final report’s writing team.

Surprise.

The synod upheld Catholic teaching but was eager to find new ways to present it. Call that groundbreaking if you want — it seems more like “Let’s do better.” The hot-button issues were there — holy Communion for civilly remarried Catholics, cohabitation and how to reach out to same-sex attracted people — but the final report addressed them in a more coherently Catholic way.

Surprise?

The evangelical thrust of Pope Francis (and his predecessors) permeated the final report. The Church should reach out to struggling families, not wait for them to come to her. What’s more, the Church is to cure wounds, not just bandage them and pretend they aren’t there. The Church must “meet people where they are” — going to the highways and byways. Yet we mustn’t “leave them where they are.”

Sounds like the New Evangelization….

For the whole article, click here.

Others Good Related Articles:

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Development of Doctrine or Change in Teaching?

Tyranny of “Mercy”

An Extraordinary Synod in More ways than One

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A One-Hour Jaunt through the Rosary Sites

by Steve Ray on October 21, 2014

I recently did a one-hour radio show with Dina Maria Hale, host of KBVM in Portland Oregon. The title was “Mysteries of the Rosary: Then & Now.”

We wanted to give everyone an idea of what the places were like at the time of Mary and Jesus, and what they are like today. We also peppered it with interesting biblical and historical insights. 

Hope you enjoy the show. Have you prayed the Gospel today? You can listen to it here: 

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Update on Geocentrism Debunked

October 21, 2014

For those following the debate about whether the earth actually is the center of the universe with everything spinning around the earth, check out this latest update posted by my friend Dave Palm. You can read the whole thing here http://www.geocentrismdebunked.org/the-cmb-and-geocentrism/  Here are the introductory paragraphs: The New Geocentrists have been claiming for some time that [...]

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Last Day of Pilgrimage: Jericho, Dead Sea, Camels and more

October 16, 2014

The last day was a banner day. We started out with Mass at Notre Dame and then a visit to the Israel Museum and then drove down to the Judean wilderness. We went to the authentic baptismal site of Jesus before having lunch in Jericho. Then on to came to Qumran where we discussed the [...]

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Legatus Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 7

October 15, 2014

Mass at Gethsemane is always moving. Mount Zion, Tour of the Holy Shroud exhibit, entrance to the Tomb and much more. Enjoy!

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Was Jesus Nice?

October 15, 2014

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in [...]

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Carrying our Cross with Christ, Mass at Tomb, Visitation and more

October 14, 2014

Join us for Via Dolorosa and Mass the Tomb and … … Visitation, Western Wall, meeting with Bishop of Jerusalem and more.

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Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter

October 14, 2014

              St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my [...]

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All Day in Bethlehem: Pilgrimage Day 5

October 13, 2014

From shopping to the shepherds caves, from Christmas carols to Mass from the birth of Our Lord to dinner and dancing. Enjoy!

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Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

October 13, 2014

It is often asked: how do we know these are the real sites where Jesus and Mary lived and walked. The earliest Christians realized the importance of these sites and immediately viewed them as sites to be remembered and venerated. Small chapels were built and pilgrims came from around the world to visit these spots [...]

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Video Fixed – Legatus Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 4: Capernaum, Up to Jerusalem

October 12, 2014

Sorry the wrong video uploaded last night. It was only 50 seconds, just a segment of our dinner. Now we have the whole video up – almost 15 minutes of the entire day including Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee and the drive up to Jerusalem. Enjoy today’s video.

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5000 Years of Middle East Control in 90 Seconds

October 12, 2014

No part of the world has changed hands and governments and religions more than the Middle East. This is a fascinating “moving map” of all the changes over the last 5,000 years.

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Christmas in Bethlehem, Sign up Now, Safe and Quiet in the Holy Land

October 11, 2014

Now that things have quieted down in Israel, many people are again looking for a good trip to the Holy Land. And do we have the trips for you! Work and school schedules a problem — no problem! We have a convenient pilgrimage planned over the Christmas break — from the day after Christmas until [...]

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Legatus Holy Land Day 3: Beatitudes, Banias, Galilee and more

October 11, 2014

This is a banner day! Everyone is starting to bond and become friends even if they didn’t know each other when we started. There are several common bonds: 1. The Catholic faith, 2. All members of Legatus, 3. They’re all in business people who understand reason and relationships and fun and punctuality. Today was a [...]

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Is Mormonism Christian? a Cult? a Heresy?

October 11, 2014

Mormons call themselves “Christians.” They say they believe in Jesus and the Bible and should be considered one of the many respected Christian denominations. However, Mormons have a serious problem if they want to claim the title of “Christian”. From the earliest days of Christianity battles have raged over orthodox theology — what is it [...]

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