Travel

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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Dangerous living the Bible in the lands of the Bible.

This is a fun 30-second video of me messing with the camel in Haran Turkey where Abraham lived for a while before leaving for Canaan. It is also where Isaac got his wife Rebekah and where Jacob lived for twenty years. They all had camels – and I was living like they did for a few days :-)

This segment will be in our Abraham video to be released by Christmas.

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Rugged territory of Haran from above

We flew from Israel to Istanbul and then from Istanbul Urfa. We then boarded the van for the one hour drive to Haran. It was 100° and the van didn’t have air-conditioning or windows that opened. It was a stifling trip but paid off with what we found. 

Haran is mentioned 19 times in the Bible. Another name for the city was Paddan-aram. That name is used 15 times in Scripture, so Haran is actually mentioned 34 times in the Bible.

Haran is just east of the Euphrates River and a few miles from the border with Syria. The people here are Turkish but they all come from Arab blood, most from Syria. 

 We made a deal with the local owner of a historical site. We have the whole place to ourselves tomorrow with sheep, camels, a well and old buildings set in authentic fields from Abram’s time. Very exciting.  

Working on the script, adapting it for the actual site

We will be filming for the next two days. Work is difficult when it is 100° and very humid. I feel for Abram and poor Sarai living in tents with no showers, air-conditioning, refrigeration, running water …    Yikes!

But it is worth it to walk on the ground where Abram, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah and Jacob all walked 4,000 years ago, to smell the air they smelled, to feel the heat they felt, to sweat like they sweat, to ride camels here, and to walk in their footprints.

Abram (before he was renamed Abraham) moved here from Ur in Iraq and lived here for an unknown length of time until his father Terah died. It was a huge camel caravan route around the Arabian Desert. After he moved to Canaan (Israel) he sent his servant back here to find Rebekah to be Isaac’s bride.

I'll become good friends with the camels tomorrow

After Isaac’s son Jacob deceived his father and his brother Esau he fled to Haran (called also ) to save his life. But he found two wives there from his own family tree, had 11 sons and lived here with flocks of sheep for twenty years.

What a joy to walk where the patriarchs walked. They are saints if you didn’t know – just read the Catechism, paragraph 61.

 One thing we can know about Abram and Sarah: they were sweaty all the time and they smelled like sheep and goats. They were sunburned and tough!

Unique dwellings in Haran

Negotiating prices

 

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Here is a YouTube Video of my Show with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN

May 24, 2014

I sure hated the suit and tie – first time in a decade I put those things on, but other than that it was fun. It was a last minute thing. They said, “Quick, get a flight, we have a hotel, take a taxi to the NBC studios in Washington DC and be there by [...]

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My Bike Ride from Tiberias to Magdala along the Shore of Galilee

May 8, 2014

Our group just arrived in Galilee and I jumped on my bike and took off for exercise and adventure. The Legionaries are building a “Spirituality Center”, whatever that is, at Magdala so I am off to check it out. I’ve been told they built a Protestant chapel there so I have to see this with [...]

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11 Must See Churches in Rome: Steve Ray and Teresa Tomeo Interveiwed by Fox News Travel

May 6, 2014

Here are a list of great churches to see in Rome that are usually off the radar screen. Murals of torture and martyrdom, tombs of the Apostolic Fathers and much more. Enjoy the article at http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2014/04/24/11-must-see-churches-in-rome/

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Great Start for Canonization Pilgrimage

April 25, 2014

Rome is packed with people! Buses are pouring in from every direction. I think the educated estimate is there will be 2 million people here for the canonization on Sunday. Our group arrived this morning and everyone is in good spirits and excited. We had a great start for the day with Mass at St. [...]

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Video of Pre-Canonization Rome

April 23, 2014

Janet and I arrived a few days early in Rome before our group. There will be 63 pilgrims arriving on Friday. We like to make sure everything is in order and ready for their arrival. And it is! We decided to take a walk around the walls of the Vatican and get a feel for [...]

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There and Back Again, Again, Again…

March 2, 2014

Thousands of people, dozens of airplanes, and just a few short weeks. Now begins the most vigorous speaking season of my year. Will I be in a city near you? March 1 Edmund Oklahoma, Catholic Fellowship of Men Mar 2-4 Chickasha Oklahoma, Holy Name Parish Mission March 8 Corpus Christi Texas, Fullness of Truth Conference [...]

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Mass with the Local Christians in Jerusalem

January 26, 2014

Wonder what it is like to join the local Christians for Sunday morning Mass in the Holy Land? Well, now you will know. As is our pleasurable habit, Janet and I arrive a little ahead of our pilgrimage group to make sure everything is set and ready for their arrival.  Today we joined the local [...]

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Ziggurat of Abraham in Ur (Naziriyah Iraq)

January 8, 2014

I’ve added a short video clip so you can get an idea of the Ziggurat. I also added a few pictures. Great day shooting footage for the Abraham movie with brick makers, the temple that Abraham saw with his own eyes, and a lot more. Your browser does not support the video tag

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In Israel, Heading to Iraq and Turkey: Preparing to Shoot New Movie on Abraham

January 4, 2014

Janet and I have been in Israel the last 10 days working on the script for our new Footprints of God DVD on Abraham. It will be entitled “Abraham, Father of Faith and Works.” Besides writing we have been driving around Israel and the Palestinian areas to review all of the places related to Abraham, [...]

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Steve in Corinth: Why We Know the Bible is True; Talk at the Erastus Stone

December 9, 2013

This is one of those moments when I love taking excited Catholics to biblical lands. Last month we went to the sites of St. Paul around the Mediterranean. One of my favorite sites is the Erastus Stone off the beaten track at Ancient Corinth. Here is my 10-minute spontaneous talk about the truth of the [...]

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On My Bike from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and Back: Living the Bible in the Holy Land

December 3, 2013

On our last day in Jerusalem last week Janet suggested I ride my bike to Bethlehem which I did. Getting old you know, and I need to keep up my health with physical exercise. But I am also have an insatiable curiosity and love adventure, discovery and doing things no one else would do :-) [...]

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Bike Ride to Town of Mary Magdalen

November 17, 2013

We arrived in Tiberias yesterday and our driver brought my bike up from Jerusalem. It wasn’t very hot today so I decided to take a nice long ride and explore some new things. First, the Tanureen Restaurant which has built a new section where we will bring our groups in the future. Then I went [...]

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In Rome for Consecration of the World to Mary – Watch My Video

October 13, 2013

Watch my short video on-location below. VATICAN CITY, October 13, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Here is the translation of the prayer of consecration recited by Pope Francis in consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Holy Mary Virgin of Fatima, with renewed gratitude for your maternal presence we join our voice to that of [...]

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