Pilgrimages

Steve Ray, who has been working for 16 years on the ambitious “Footprints of God” series, discusses his vision, describes the difficulties, and asks for assistance as the project nears the finish line.

4899steverayjer_00000004582Author and apologist Stephen Ray (CatholicConvert.com) along with his wife Janet, entered the Catholic Church in 1994, a journey from the Baptist tradition to Catholicism described in Ray’s first book, Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church. Since then he has kept busy with giving numerous talks, leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Rome, and other locations, and writing more books, including Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church, and St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study and Commentary.

Steve and Janet have also kept busy working on writing, filming, editing, and producing the award-winning video series for Ignatius Press titled ”The Footprints of God”. The Rays and their crew have completed eight of the ten films and are busy making preparations for the final two films, including raising money to help with the costs of filming on location in countries including Israel, Turkey, Italy, and Egypt.

Catholic World Report recently caught up with Steve shortly before he and Janet left the country to lead a pilgrimage in Rome and Assisi.

4899filmingover_00000004584 (1)CWR: You’ve been working on the “Footprints of God” film project for 16 years. Where did the idea come from and how did you get started on such an ambitious project?

Steve Ray: It started in the middle of the night around 2 a.m. Without any forethought I woke up with a start. I sat up in the pitch dark and grabbed my wife and began to shake her, “Janet, Janet! Wake up, we have to make a ten-part video series on the history of salvation from a Catholic perspective!” I had woken her up so abruptly she was shaking from fright. When she finally realized what I was saying she responded, “What? Are you crazy? I thought the house was on fire or you were having a heart attack. You woke me up in the middle of the night and scared me half to death to tell us we have to make movies? We can’t even take good pictures—how does God expect us to make movies? You’re crazy, go back to sleep.”

She rolled over and went back to sleep but I was wide awake—and I was on fire. For the rest of the night I was at my computer with fingers flying, getting it all down out of my head before it disappeared. The ideas flowed like a waterfall and by the time the sun came up I had the whole outline of the series figured out, along with the title. It was going to be called The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine. It would consist of ten parts and each one would explain how God has come to his people to offer redemption and salvation—to the point that he even got his own feet dirty doing it!

CWR: How did Ignatius Press get involved in the project? …

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For the whole article, click The Joys and Challenges of Filming the Story of Salvation History

To visit our “Footprints Updates Page” or to help support the project financially – www.FOGHelp.com.

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“How big was baby Jesus in Mary’s womb when Mary visited Elizabeth?” That is the question I asked myself while visiting the Church of the Visitation in Israel. What I learned was quite revolutionary and amazing. This is one of the best pro-life arguments from Scripture and one I’ve not heard discussed before.

It also says a lot about who Jesus was and the “stranger than fiction” event taking place in space and time in the womb of young girl about 15 years old.

Pictures sometimes show Mary very pregnant — better get to Bethlehem fast! But in reality that is not the case. In scientific terms Jesus was just a blastocyst, a few hundred miniature cells no bigger than a millimeter (0.039 inch).

At the Visitation, Jesus was a “blastcyst” like on the top right

How big was Jesus? Read this article I just wrote and step back in time to the first days of Jesus’ life taking on a human body even though you could have barely seen him with the human eye at the time.

Here is an excerpt from my new article “How Big Was Jesus at the Visitation?”

 “When Mary arrived for the Visitation, as we Catholics refer to the her visit, she was not “showing” yet. Isn’t if funny how we see pictures of a very pregnant Mary as though the baby was ready for Bethlehem. But in reality Jesus—100% God and 100% human — was so small he was practically invisible. 

 Though this blastocyst attached to Mary’s uterus had not seen the light of day He had created with his soon-to-develop eyes, nor breathed fresh air He had created with His still-to-develop lungs, yet He was very alive and very human. The cells were replicating at a rapid rate and they were already developing distinct bodily features. It contained the DNA—the genetic code of Mary.

 The microscopic cells were not just extraneous tissue in the mother’s body—something to be discarded, a disease or something. It was human life with a soul. From conception Every baby shares in the image of God and true humanity with inestimable value long before it takes it’s first breath—right from conception. 

 These replicating cells in Mary’s body were truly human life, God himself taking on human flesh. St. John tells us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt (literally, “pitched his tent” of flesh) among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” John 1:14).

 One thing many people do not think about—what was Jesus’ size and the stage of development in the womb when Mary arrived at the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth? And, how did Elizabeth and the unborn baby John the Baptist react upon pregnant Mary’s arrival?” …

 Continue reading the full article, click HERE.

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All our pilgrimages are filling fast, especially the Holy Land where three of the next four trips are SOLD OUT. Join us over Christmas break before that one is completely full. God bless!

Click here for a personal invitation from Steve Ray, what kids have to say about our family pilgrimages, an interactive map, the itinerary and the brochure!

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Video Invite from Steve Ray for the St. Paul Mediterranean Pilgrimage Cruise “Seminar at Sea”

July 9, 2016

Our cruise is coming up at the end of October. Registrations are brisk and we want to make sure you get your cabin! Join our “Seminar at Sea” with Steve Ray, Al Kresta of Ave Maria Radio and Fr. Steve Mattson. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Mary, St. Paul, the Apostle St. […]

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Final Day: Walking through Rome, Great Discoveries, Martyrdoms and Relics

July 1, 2016

What a great last day for a marvelous pilgrimage. First video is our Mass at the Martyrs Church where I gave a talk on martyrdom and persecution. Then to the relics from Jerusalem. After I took the group on a walking tour of some of the best sites and churches around Piazza Navona. For Fr. […]

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Free Day today in Rome, No Video except for Morning Mass

July 1, 2016

No video today since everybody went in their own direction discovering and seeing and eating wherever  and whatever they wanted. There are wonderful cafés and restaurants on every corner and over 800 churches in Rome alone. Excitement was in the air! But here is a short video of our early-morning mass and father Hersey’s homily especially […]

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Mass with St. John Paul II, Tour of Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

July 1, 2016

Great day today. Mass at the altar of St. JPII, tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, then St. Peter’s Basilica. It was hot today so we gave everyone the afternoon off to swim, stay cool and explore Rome.

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Free Day in Rome, No Video Today – except the Mass

June 26, 2016

No video today since everybody went in their own direction discovering and seeing and eating wherever  and whatever they wanted. There are wonderful cafés and restaurants on every corner and over 800 churches in Rome alone. Excitement was in the air! But here is a short video of our early-morning mass and father Hersey’s homily especially […]

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Following St. Paul to his Death, his Burial in Catacombs and his Present Sarcophagus: Great Day 6 in Rome

June 25, 2016

We started out at Tre Fontone where St. Paul was beheaded. Very few people have visited this marvelous location where there is still original Roman Road Paul walked to his death. I gave my overview of the life of St. Paul. Then to St. Paul Outside the Walls where the bones of Paul are — […]

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Jerusalem Patriarch Resigns and new Administrator Appointed

June 24, 2016

Father Pizzaballa nominated as Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate STATEMENT His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, having reached the legal age, according to article 401, §1 of the Code of Canon Law. His Holiness has appointed the Very Reverend  Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, former Custos of the […]

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Tombs of Apostolic Fathers for Mass, Holy Door at Mother Church of the World…

June 23, 2016

Everyone who knows me knows me knows I love the Apostolic Fathers. Mass at the tomb of both Sts. Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome — both of whom personally knew the Apostles and had their “words still ringing in their ears” — is always a thrill for me and our groups. For Fr. […]

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We Saw the Pope Up Close – and Took a CATHOLIC Tour of the Forum and Coloseum

June 22, 2016

Although it was very hot today we all drank lots of water and had a great day. We started with the General Audience with the Pope and got some great shots. One on our young pilgrims even got a KISS from the Pope.  Then we took a marvelous CATHOLIC tour thru the Roman Forum and […]

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Did St. Paul Pray for the Dead? Yes!

June 22, 2016

Since we are in Rome today and touring Ancient Rome, especially the Roman Forum and the Mammertine Prison where St. Paul wrote 2 Timothy shortly after his martyrdom. While in that prison he wrote to Timothy and says a prayer for the dead. It seems apparent that St. Paul DOES pray for the dead. Here […]

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From A Full Morning in Assisi to an Evening in Rome

June 21, 2016

Today was a full second day and we had a wonderful itinerary. Mass at St. Clare’s in Assisi, a tour with a local guide who was a REAL believer whose brother is in seminary to be a priest. The “spirituality” of local guides is essential which is why we tolerate NO guide who is not […]

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Arrival in Rome and Drive to Medieval Assisi

June 20, 2016

Today everyone arrived safe and sound in the Rome Airport and we drove north to Assisi. We had a great day with Mass at the Church of San Francesco in the monastery. We had free time to explore the city and pray at his tomb. A great Italian dinner and then to bed for a […]

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Jesus Was A Jew – So What is That To You?

June 20, 2016

 Jesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus and the book written about him—the Bible. Unhappily, in 21st century America we are far removed from the land of Israel and the ancient culture and religion of Jesus and his Jewish ancestors.  […]

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