October 2006

With Mary on Calvary

by Steve Ray on October 31, 2006

BishopMass sm.jpgLast night we got a call on our cell phone from a bishop in Jerusalem. He invited us to celebrate a Mass with him on Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

We walked through the streets of Old Jerusalem, entered the church, and climbed the stairs together to Calvary. The Church was empty except for a few holy nuns praying in corners or a fw Franciscans and Greeks doing their morning prayers.

(We have since distanced ourselves from this bishop due to alleged moral failures of a serious nature.)

Mary sm.jpgThere are three altars on Calvary: 1) the Latin Altar at the spot Jesus was nailed to the cross, 2) the Latin altar marking the place where Mary stood at the foot of the cross, and 3) the Greek altar where the cross was placed in the ground. These three altars are only a few feet from each other.

We had Mass at the place where Mary stood looking up at her Son. On this altar is a beautiful and haunting statue of Mary with sorrow in her eyes and a sword piercing her heart. Her eyes are piercing your heart as you stand there. It was a Mass to remember as we shared Mary’s sorrow. But as the bishop said, “As I consecrate the Body and Blood of our Lord, we give him back to Mary alive!”

It was prophecied by Simeon in the Gospel of Luke that Mary’s heart (soul) would also be pierced. We share her sorrow at the cross but a moment later we were in the tomb sharing not only her grief at a Son buried, but her rejoicing with a Son risen.

This was a spectacular way to say Good-bye to Jerusalem as we head to Rome. We will miss Jerusalem, but we will, Lord willing, bring a nice group of pilgrims back in March.

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Michigan Voters

by Steve Ray on October 30, 2006

Are you sure you know which candidates are against abortion?

Prolife voting information and candidate comparison pieces are available for you at www.rtl.org. A voter guide specific to your area is available. Both Democrats and Republicans are endorsed by the Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee. Your life counts! Please choose to make your vote count for life. Vote on November 7!

Barbara Listing, President Right to Life of Michigan

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Saturday: Walking in the Rain

by Steve Ray on October 29, 2006

Camel sm1.jpgRain and walking—brought in a little suffering to make it really feel like a pilgrimage. Umbrellas popped up as we got off the bus at the Chapel of the Ascension where the feet of Jesus left the earth to ascend into the cloud. Why a cloud? Because a cloud represents the glory of God and Jesus was returning back to the glory of heaven. Also because Daniel talked about this in Daniel 7:13-14.

We then walked a few yards to the Mount of Olives Bazaar where every one did their last shopping—but mostly where everyone got to ride the camel. Fun and pictures were had by all.

Since it was raining pretty hard we drove the bus down the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane. We saw the 2,000 year old olive trees in the Garden and prayed in the Church of All Nations which is also called the Church of the Agony. It was here that Jesus took upon himself the weight of the sins of the world.

Crosses sm.jpgThere was a Mass in the Grotto of the Arrest so we descended into the Tomb of Mary next door. Mary fell asleep in the Dormitian, was buried in this tomb and was later assumed into heaven. No city or church has ever claimed to have the bones of Mary as they do with all the other saints.

We then prayed at the Western Wall inside the Dung Gate and then lunch at the Notre Dame Center. WE had an extra hour before we could gain entrance to the Church of St. Ann for Mass so we toured the very-well-done Shroud Exhibit at the Notre Dame.

St. Ann’s Church is just inside St. Stephen’s Gate in the Old City and it is build in front of the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and right over the grotto where Mary was born. We sang here because the acoustics are marvelous—“Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing!” We had Mass inside the monastery since the church was so full and we were on a tight schedule. I gave a short history and biblical talk about the Pools of Bethsaida.

StepsCalvary sm.jpgWe then began the Stations of the Cross—the Way of Sorrows—the Via Dolorosa. We carried the cross through the crowded, noisy and rainy streets following the way of Our Lord. This is always a highpoint of the pilgrimage, especially as we recall the Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson.

Philadelphia sm.jpgWe entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was packed with people from all over the world. I had to be a bit pushy and act as a demanding shepherd to get our group into line and protect the line so that our pilgrims had time to visit and pray inside the tomb. People always ttry to cut in front of get their groups in first.

PhiladelphiaDinner sm.jpgThe Latin Catholics (Franciscans) had their processions and prayers followed by the Armenian seminarians. Beautiful singing and wonderful experience. Everyone entered the tomb and then we went to an authentic Arabic dinner and the Philadelphia where US presidents have eaten in the past.

After this the pilgrims packed and left for the airport.. They were exhausted, but this was a wonderful pilgrimage that we pray will effect their lives helping them to understand and defend their faith and to bring them to sainthood.

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Friday: Bethlehem and Ein Kerem

October 29, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006 Our first day on the ground in Jerusalem. It is quiet here—peaceful and friendly. No one ever saw anything to alarm them or to even hint at troubles. Everyone commented over and over again that what they saw here is NOT what they see on the sensationalist news media. We started [...]

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Thursday: Driving South but UP to Jerusalem

October 29, 2006

Tears in the eyes and uttered expressions of deep faith were our daily companions. The initial fear of entering Israel was soon replaced with calm and joy and enthusiasm. From our conversations and sharing along the way, it was overwhelmingly apparent that these pilgrims were deeply moved and these Legatus pilgrims had an experience of [...]

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Pope Pius XII: “Be Proud to be a Jew”

October 26, 2006

A new discovery about Pope Pius XII shows the recent slander and dishonest charges against him are fallacious and should be condemned. Read this and see how modern "historians' and "scholars" have misinformed the public about the position of Pope Pius XII in relation to the Nazis and the Jews. Read "Be Proud to be a [...]

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Wednesday: Exhausting Day in Galilee

October 26, 2006

Wednesday, 10/26/2006 I always have good intensions — such as putting up pictures and writing a detailed account of our day. But then we get back to our hotel — after shepherding pilgrims through many holy sites, not including meals and more — followed by a wonderful dinner and delightful conversation — and we crash [...]

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Tuesday: Exhilarating Day Following Jesus and Mary

October 24, 2006

Tuesday, 10/24/2006 We have a wonderful group! These Legatus folks are splendid with a real touch of class. We are also staying in a very  nice hotel — the Rimonin Galilea Hotel in Tiberas right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Today we drove the 1/2 hour to Mount Tabor, the Mount of Transfiguration. [...]

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1:30 AM: Just arrived in Israel

October 23, 2006

We just landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday at 1:30 AM. When we wake up Sunday morning we have Mass at the Latin Patriarchate and then preparations to receive the Legatus pilgrims. We pick up our group Monday and begin our pilgrimage in Galilee on Monday. It is very quiet here –safe and ready [...]

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Just Arrived in Israel

October 22, 2006

We landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday at 1:30 AM. We slept a few hours and walked into the Old City to have Mass at the Latin Patriarchate. Then we had lunch and worked on preparations to receive the Legatus pilgrims. Two couples arrive Sunday afternoon, the Myers and the Rainey’s, so we plan to take [...]

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Off to the Holy Land

October 20, 2006

Janet and I take off today for Israel. After a night over in Amsterdam we will arrive in Jerusalem early Sunday morning. We will lead the Legatus group through Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other sites. For more info, you can visit our Footprints of God Pilgrimages website. We will then fly to Rome for six days preparing [...]

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End of Life Issues

October 19, 2006

THINKING WITH THE CHURCH AT LIFE'S END Each one of us will be leaving here some day. Some will leave suddenly, and others will linger for some time before taking that final journey. To help you understand Church teaching on such things as advance directives, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide, the National Catholic Bioethics Center provides [...]

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Conversion Story: From Episcopalian to Catholic on 9/11

October 18, 2006

John Rundle is a long time and faithful member of our Message Board and he goes by the name "Fish." Here is his conversion story. Click here.

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Happy Feast Day of St. Luke, Friend of Mary

October 17, 2006

St Luke: Greek Physician, Historian & Friend of Mary(Feast Day October 18) "Her face shone as she related the stories—the words were vibrant, and though older now, her memory was excellent. He sat enraptured as she brought the past into living color. He had traveled a long way to see her and he sat motionless, [...]

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Jeff’s Conversion Story: No Religion to Catholic

October 17, 2006

I met Jeff Smith and his wife Carla and daughters Carissa and Alexa in Davison Michigan last Sunday. What a great family! Here is Jeff's short story of how he went from no religion and no interest in God to being an on-fire Catholic. Click here.

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Population Tips 300,000,000

October 17, 2006

This morning at 7:46 AM Eastern time a baby was born somewhere in somewhere in the United States that tipped our population of to over 300 million. The population hit 200 million in 1967. Only 997 million to go to catch up with China. For more details, read the Bloomberg Report.

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