Saints and Fathers

Great Day of touring Bethlehem and all its glory and fun, including dancing. Enjoy!

By the way, Miriam of Jesus Crucified is being canonized in Rome Sunday. She is a Palestinian Christian we all visited her convent today and all wore her cloak and prayed at her relics. WOW!

Article on the new Arab saints.

All Day in Bethlehem – Visiting a new saint

Deacon Thaddeus’ Homily at Shepherds Field

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Kissing Statues

by Steve Ray on May 11, 2015

We are in Jerusalem today ready to pick up our group of 50 people at the airport in a few hours. When I woke up this morning to the Muslim “call to prayer”, church bells ringing and horns honking I read this email that came from the United Kingdom…

It read, “Hi Steve! I know you are a busy man. Please answer the above issue when the time permits you. I am a Catholic but I cannot accept the kissing of statues. It goes against my conscience.  I feel also it is against the bible teachings. Thanking you and awaiting your reply.”

I responded: Greetings from Jerusalem! I understand your sentiments and I don’t make a practice of going around kissing statues either though I have at times and certainly understand the reasoning and sentiment behind the action.

Notice the picture to the left. He is kneeling in front of a Bible. Is the man worshiping the Bible – he is kissing it after all. No, he loves the Word of God and is showing his love for God and his word. It is the same if a man kneels in front of a Bible while reading it.

 Imagine your wife, if you’re married, is in a different country for a while and you miss her. Every once in a while you take an old picture of your wedding out of your pocket and look at it and think of her and it makes you miss her and love her. Once in a while you might close your eyes and kiss the picture as a means of demonstrating your love and devotion to her and your union together.

 It’s no different with the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a saint or Jesus. It’s simply a way that people acknowledge and express their love and respect for the person behind the statue.

 Just like you don’t fall in love with a picture and begin to worship the picture of your wife, so Catholics don’t love the statue or worship it; they are simply expressing their love and respect for the person behind the statue or that the statute represents. 

 There’s no need to read anything more nefarious into the action than that. It is simply an act of devotion and love for Mary, for Jesus, or for our brothers and sisters the saints who are alive in heaven.

Paragraph 1192 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.” In other words, I as said above, we do not worship the image we love and honor the people they represent.

 If you understand it this way you will be understanding it properly and you will do well. 

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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, with furled brow, taking careful notes on his parchment. He spent hours asking questions and listening.

Mary’s stories seemed incredible; but Luke had been a Christian long enough to know the stories were true. He was compiling an orderly account for his Excellency Theophilus.

Luke’s Gospel stands third among the gospels and is the only one written by a non-Jew; in fact, Luke is the only Gentile author in the Bible.

He wrote a sequel to his gospel, the Acts of the Apostles which is the first history of the fledgling Church, also addressed to Theophilus who was probably a governmental dignitary.

Luke and Acts together span the initial sixty years of the first century. Luke was a physician by trade from Antioch in Syria and he often accompanied Paul on his apostolic journeys (Col 4:14; Philem 24) and was loyal to him until the end (2 Tim 4:11).

The gentle physician interviewed Mary and other eye-witnesses because he “he did not see the Lord in His flesh” himself and was therefore compiling an account, and some of the most unique stories could have come only from Mary.

Luke’s purpose was to collect the many stories and historical events from various sources and to compile them into a convincing and orderly account so that everyone would believe in Jesus the savior of the world.

Mark’s gospel was a primary source for Luke. Of Luke’s 1149 verses, about 320 are from Mark’s gospel. Luke’s Gospel is the longest book in the New Testament. The date of his writing was around AD 62, probably while caring for Paul under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:16, 30). …

For the rest of the account, all you need to know about St. Luke, click HERE.

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Was Joseph the Father of Jesus?

April 30, 2015

Was Joseph the “father” of Jesus?  We hear many opinions… “Joseph was possibly the biological father of Jesus, but the Gospels deny the fact, claiming he was the product of a virgin birth, making Jesus more than just a man.” “Jesus is really the product of rape and Joseph mercifully stepped up to the plate [...]

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Pope Going to Fatima – Beat him there and miss the crowds!

April 27, 2015

We just took a great group of pilgrims to Fatima, Avila and Lourdes. We have another trip going in July to visit Fatima, Santiago de Compostela and Lourdes. Join us and miss all the crowds!  Pope Francis Plans to Visit Fatima in 2017 Trip to Coincide with 100th Anniversary of Marian Apparitions, By Junno Arocho Esteves [...]

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Feast Day for a Deserter? Yup! Read the Story of St. Mark

April 23, 2015

His voice boomed over the crowds in Rome as it had done all around the Roman Empire. The large fisherman was aging but his voice was still filled with intensity and conviction. The thronging crowds listened with curiosity. Rome was the hub of the civilized world and Peter preached the message of a Jewish rabbi named [...]

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Last Day of Fatima, Avila, Lourdes and more pilgrimage: Mass at Lourde’s Grotto, Tours and Final Comments and Farewells

April 18, 2015

It was a great day today but sad as well. It is always sad to say Good-bye and leave each other after spending such a wonderful ten days together in such tremendously powerful spiritual sites. Today we started with Mass at the Grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette and revealed herself as the [...]

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Full Day at Lourdes France including Tour of Shrine and Bernadette’s Sites – and the Evening Procession

April 16, 2015

Today was St. Bernadette’s feast day and everyone thought it pretty special to be here in Lourdes, touring the Shrine, having Mass and visiting all the historical sites related to her life. I got some great shots and involvement with the evening procession with thousands of people from all over the world, all united in [...]

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Driving thru Spectacular Mountais to Lourdes France!

April 15, 2015

We took a driving tour of spectacular Zaragosa Spain then took off north towards France, heading to Lourdes.  The Pyrenees Mountains separating Spain and France were stunning and beautiful – still covered with snow as we went through the waterfalls and rushing streams, tunnels and forests. We arrived in the Lourdes with songs of praise and [...]

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All Day with St. Teresa in Avila, Walking Tour, Great Homily and Installed in Brown Scapular

April 13, 2015

I will let the videos speak for themselves – but it was a great day. The weather forecast was for rain but it was sunny and warm all day. We had planned to visit two nearby cities but I made an executive decision to cancel that so people had a free afternoon and evening in [...]

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Carmelites and Lovers of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross – on the 500th Anniversary of her birth

April 12, 2015

Friends and Family of those traveling with us — if you leave a comment below I will read it on the bus. Anyone can leave a comment and I will read it. Today was your day! We followed St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross through their hometowns and places of ministry [...]

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Meet St. Paul as he Writes to the Romans; A Brief Study to Make it Easy

April 12, 2015

I love St. Paul and love to write about him and his epistles. I also enjoyed traveling through six countries filming his life story and theology. St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is often seen as impossible to understand except by theologians — and most skip right over this masterpiece. With hopes that you will [...]

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Fatima Portugal to Avila Spain, Stopping along the way at St. Teresa of Avila’s Tomb for Mass

April 11, 2015

This is the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila. We are now visiting all the sites in Spain related to her life and Carmelite spirituality. What a great day we had driving from Fatima in Portugal to Avila in Spain. We had Mass along the way at Alba de Tormes, at [...]

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John the Baptist Ate Them…Steve Ate One too!

January 10, 2015

I was just on the radio and mentioned how I ate a grasshopper in the Holy Land, in honor of John the Baptist. Since we just returned from Israel I thought I would repost this blog entry in honor of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus on January 9 and my appearance on Relevant Radio to [...]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey – In Preparation for “John the Baptist & Our Lord Baptism”

January 8, 2015

A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. Wild honey is not collected from wild bees without burning pain and suffering. Today there is protective equipment and methods to harvest honey, but in times past it took [...]

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“Sunday Mornings in Ancient Times” or “Why I Teared up Last Sunday”

December 22, 2014

Tears welled up in my eyes — again — at Mass last Sunday. It was not always so. As a former Baptist I used to think the Catholic Mass was a sacrilege and an abomination. How could anyone worship a piece of bread? Really! However, last Sunday I was overcome with emotion while sitting in [...]

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