A Father-Son Story

by JesseRay on November 16, 2017

By Fr. Joseph Fessio

2018 will be the 40th anniversary of Ignatius Press. There are many stories I could tell about all the blessings God has showered upon us during that time. But one story is especially pertinent because it’s also about the next forty years of Ignatius Press—and it’s one we hope you’ll consider being a part of.

It’s a father-son story of conversion, grace, and service of the Lord

Part 1: The Father

In 1994 we received a manuscript from a young, enthusiastic, Evangelical Protestant who, with his wife and four children, had recently come into full communion with the Catholic Church. It was called Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church. The author was Stephen K. Ray.

It was a compellingly written manuscript and we all agreed we should publish it. There was one drawback. It seemed the author, who had spent his youth memorizing Bible verses, had skipped some of his grammar classes.

A red pencil, referenced in this letter, worn down to a nub.

The famous red pencil! Read the letter for its story.

So Carolyn Lemon, our production editor who was with me at the press’s founding in 1978, took out her long red pencil and went to work. When she finished, it was a short red pencil. We sent it to Steve and he has it enshrined over his writing desk as an aid to Steve’s humility and a reminder to watch those dangling participles.

The book was a great success—both in sales and in evangelization. And Steve has gone on to write two more books for us: Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church and St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary.

But these were just the beginning of a much more ambitious project: A ten-part video series on Old Testament prophets, Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, and early Fathers of the Church. All shot on location and narrated by Steve the Indomitable. It’s called The Footprints of God and over fourteen years Steve and we have completed eight episodes, with the ninth in postproduction.

The Footprints of God series has been enthusiastically received by hundreds of thousands of viewers. But filming them is expensive—as well as dangerous—and we’re hoping you’ll help us finish the series in time for our 40th anniversary.

Part 2: The Son

Footprints of God host Steve Ray riding a horse in front of an Egyptian pyramid.

Steve Ray on location film­ing The Foot­prints of God

More important to Steve and his wife, Janet, than this work for the worldwide Church was their commitment to their own ‘domestic Church’, their growing family. They wanted to pass on their Faith to their children and encourage them to be apostles also.

One of them, Jesse, began working for Lighthouse Catholic Media in Sycamore, IL, soon taking charge of the warehouse where Lighthouse’s Catholic books, CDs, and art were stored and shipped. After Lighthouse’s partial merger with the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO, the remaining operations stayed in Sycamore under a new name: 5 Stones. (Think of the five stones young David put in his slingshot pouch for his battle with Goliath.)

Ignatius formed a partnership of sorts with 5 Stones and we co-own a warehouse in nearby DeKalb.

Then last year the situation changed radically. Our good friend Neil McCaffrey, who with his brother Gene and their colleagues had been warehousing our books and fulfilling your orders for almost as long as Ignatius Press has been in existence, decided to retire and sell his warehouse— so he could get into politics!

The warehouse in DeKalb isn’t large enough to handle all our inventory (42 semi-trailers’ worth!), and there’s no room for expansion, so we decided to build a larger warehouse both to house all our books and to be the office for 5 Stones, which will provide fulfillment and other services for Ignatius Press as well as for a growing number of other Catholic organizations.

Cranes and poles supporting a concrete wall that is a part of Ignatius Press's new warehouse.

The walls of our new ware­house going up.

That’s where Jesse Ray’s help has proven invaluable. He worked with me closely on the design of a warehouse that would be ideal for the future needs of Ignatius Press and 5 Stones. And it’s really magnificent. Construction started in May of this year, and is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year—if we can pay for the completion.

You see, there’s a small problem—caused entirely by me. When I made a rough estimate of the cost of the land and new warehouse—upon which estimate we bought the property and engaged a local contractor—I was a little off. Only about $2 million, though.

We dug deep in our pockets, and then had some providential but totally unexpected help from one of our dedicated readers. A generous donor made a substantial contribution to help. So we’re close to being able to finish the warehouse—but not there yet.

View of the warehouse being built, mostly metal and concrete.

An aerial view of constr­uc­tion.

To finish the job of building the warehouse, we need $850,000. To complete the final episode of The Footprints of God, we need $250,000.

We rarely ask for substantial financial support for our work. But circumstances have moved us to do so in this case. I am writing this message because I regard Ignatius Press readers as an important part of our “missionary team”.

People sometimes think of Ignatius Press as a large corporation. That is probably partly the result of our marketing department doing such a great job getting the word out about our books and films.

In fact, we are a relatively small apostolate, with several Catholic families and others involved, trying to serve the mission of the Church through publishing books and distributing videos.

Covers for severals Footprints of God movies.

Some of the films in the award-winn­ing Foot­prints of God series

We’re praying that you will be inspired to help us move into our next forty years of providing solid Catholic books and films by helping Steve Ray, Jesse Ray, and the rest of the Ignatius Press family finish both The Footprints of God and our new warehouse. There are three ways to donate—choose whichever method is easiest for you!

  • Donate securely online. Simply click one of these links and you’ll be taken directly to a secure PayPal page to donate. No PayPal account is necessary to use this online donation feature.
  • Support the New Warehouse
  • Support Footprints of God
  • Call us at 1-800-651-1531 and let us know how much you’d like to donate, and to which project.
  • Or send us a check in the mail using the form found here.

All donations are tax-deductible. To claim your deduction when donating online, be sure to provide your full address so that we can send you a letter for your records.

Thank you so much for whatever financial help you can give us to finish these two major IP projects! We greatly appreciate your support for the mission of Ignatius Press.

Sincerely in the Lord,

Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ
Editor, Ignatius Press

Source: Help Fund the Work of Ignatius Press


Day 4: Lourdes to Loyola to Burgos Spain

by Steve Ray on October 31, 2017

Early departure from Lourdes and a beautiful drive through the countryside of France and Spain.

Four hours at Loyola Spain as we toured the house of St. Ignatius of Loyola and had Mass in the beautiful church there. For Bishop Archbishop Lucas’ homily click here.

Enjoy today’s video.


2 Timothy: Last Words of Paul Written from the Mamertine Prison
By Steve Ray

[NOTE: In my articles on the Pastoral Epistles, I use each one to relay a theme: 1 Timothy emphasizes Timothy; Titus emphasizes Paul’s ecclesiology; 2 Timothy emphasizes the end of Paul’s life.]

It was dark and damp. The scurrying feet of nasty rats was constant in the everlasting darkness. He could feel the scratchy feet as the rodents scrambled over his body and their yellow teeth nipped at his flesh. It was hard enough to sleep on the wet dungeon floor and the rats only made it worse.

The acrid stench was unbearable—the years of accumulated excrement and urine was revolting. Vile prisoners fought over scraps of food. Once a doomed man was lowered into this subterranean chamber through the hole in the roof, there was no escape and death was certain.

Julius Caesar had dispensed with his enemies here and it was now in use by Emperor Nero who was using it to dispense with the Apostle Paul.

Welcome to the Mamertine Prison, located in Rome near the Roman forum at the base of the Capitoline Hill. It can still be visited today and it was here that many believe, with good reason, that St. Paul spent his last days.

Earlier, about ad 61-63, Paul had spent two years under house arrest in Rome awaiting his appeal to Caesar—much better conditions than he suffered now. The Acts of the Apostles abruptly ends with the earlier imprisonment during which Paul wrote letters to Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and to a man named Philemon.

But Paul was eventually released and early writings indicate that he spent several more years (c. ad 63-67) preaching Christ and traveling as far as Spain (Rom 15:24, 28) (Endnote 1). But now Emperor Nero ascended the throne and the Christians took the brunt of his cruelty. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom under his insanity.

While bound in shackles and awaiting execution (2 Tim 2:9; 3:6) Paul wrote his last existing letter to his most loyal friend and companion, Timothy. It is a very personal final letter. Prison could not dampen Paul’s spirit or confidence in his eternal destiny.

He spent those miserable days and nights praying for Church. His spirit soared far above the stench of the dungeon and while caged he exulted in his “Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10).

Click here for the rest of the story.


Silence of Bishops in Response to the Pope: “A New – and Encouraging – Form of Collegiality?”

July 27, 2017

An excellent and insightful article by Fr. Mark Pilon on The Catholic Thing website (worth subscribing to). This article accurately, I think, describes and explains the current rift between this Pope and the vast majority of clergy, including bishops and cardinals. A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano by an Italian priest who teaches biblical theology is yet another […]

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Too Many Children Harm the Earth – Correct?

July 17, 2017

I saw this on a response from Jennifer Fulwiler to some nutcase named Amanda Marcotte who loves lots of cats but denounces lots of kids. I developed it a bit further.  Patrick Madrid who has a beautifully large family also responded. Lately in the media people are condemning more than two or three kids per […]

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Arrival in Amman Jordan, Filming Gear Lost, Mass with Local Arab Jordanians

June 18, 2017

Here’s a short video of our first two days in Amman Jordan as we arrive to film our next documentary. The crew arrived two days early to have time to set up all their equipment and get prepared but unhappily all the equipment and luggage stayed in London. It took two days to get it […]

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Taking off to Jordan to begin filming

June 15, 2017

Fighting crowds at airport. Heading to Amman Jordan to begin filming our next Footprints of God documentary on Elijah & Elisha.

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Go with us to Oberammergau in 2020 – Germany, Switzerland & Italy

June 7, 2017

We are now planning two trips to the Passion Play in Oberammergau Germany in 2020. This play is only performed every ten years. Keep an eye on our developing “Oberammergau Page” where you can see the full itinerary, final dates, developments and soon be able to register. Contact Elizabeth for more info or to be put on our […]

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Fatima to Coimbra to Braga to Bon Jesus to Santiago

May 19, 2017

From Fatima Portugal to Mass at Coimbra where Sister Lucia spent the last 50+ years of her life in the Carmelite Monastery. See Fr. Andrew Apostoli’s homily here. Then to Braga for lunch and free time. Stories, prayers and discussions on the buses – fun times! Then to Bon Jesus, one of the most beautiful […]

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“Bible Answer Man” Joins Greek Orthodox Church

April 10, 2017

Karl Keating posted on Facebook: “BIBLE ANSWER MAN” BECOMES EASTERN ORTHODOX Hank Hanegraaf, long-time president of the Christian Research Institute and host of “The Bible Answer Man” radio show, has entered the Greek Orthodox Church, according to one-time associate Rob Bowman. CRI is an Evangelical apologetics group established in 1960 by Walter Martin, who died […]

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We Had a Nice Christmas Present Today :-)

December 25, 2016

Nice Christmas present today. Plane to Israel oversold so they bumped us to Business Class. Nice sleep ahead! Thank the Lord! It pays to stay Diamond!

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Bravo Pope Francis! Reaffirms Ban on Homosexuals in Priesthood

December 8, 2016

With Pope Francis’ approval, the Vatican has restated its ruling that men with “homosexual tendencies” cannot be admitted to Catholic seminaries. In a new document titled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy offers extensive guidelines for priestly formation including a section devoted to “Persons with Homosexual Tendencies.” The document, dated […]

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Gondola Rides, Folksy Marketplace, Indian Chapel, Exotic Birds at Lunch – our last day

December 6, 2016

Enjoy our last day of Mexico Adventures. Homily in tiny Indian chapel in middle of the marketplace click here.

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Mass at with Our Lady at Guadalupe!

December 5, 2016

Most of our group in front of the Shrine of Guadalupe after we had Mass in front of the Tilma Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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Few Video Clips from Canonization of Mother Teresa

September 4, 2016

More later…

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Last Day in Kraków and Salt Mines and Dinner Dancing…

August 21, 2016

…it was a late night tonight with the farewell dinner and everyone is getting up early in the morning to get to the airport for their flights. Stay tuned tomorrow for the video. I’ll get it done first thing. When you wake up in the morning in the United States the video should be ready […]

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