Pilgrimages

Since Pentecost is upon us, I thought I would share this again…

The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal.

They were also anxious about the promise. The only thing they knew about God descending in fire was the experience of their ancestors at Mount Sinai. When that happened they all ran and hid and said to Moses, Never let God speak to us again; you go talk with Him and come back and tell us what the said.

Pentecost was approaching. Pentecost means “the 50th day.” Fiftieth day from what? From the Passover. Almost fifty days ago the Passover lambs had been slain, and so had THE Passover Lamb. Then there was the forty mystery days when Jesus was gone but not gone—with them but not with them, at least not like before. And he kept just appearing and then disappearing.

He taught them a lot in those forty days, He had breathed on them, gave them power to forgive and retain sins, fed them loaves and fish, appointed Peter as his shepherd, commanded them to go out from Jerusalem to the world. He explained to them much about the Kingdom of God and their tasks as His emissaries.

The last meeting was the most unusual of all. He answered a few questions, gave a few instructions and without even a formal Good-bye He started going up—and continued going up until all they saw was the bottom of his sandals as he disappeared into a cloud. Daniel 7:13-14 says he went back to the glory of heaven.

They looked at each other with obvious concern on their faces—they were fearful. They locked themselves in the Upper Room to pray as He had commanded. They were praying for what they feared—fire upon a mountain, Mount Zion. They prayed for nine days, the first Novena, before the promise of the Holy Spirit fell.

We are specifically told that there were about 120 people in the room. Actually the word is “names” not people. How strange. Can you imagine me saying, “About 120 names came on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land”? This made me curious so I looked up 120 in early Jewish literature and law. Sure enough, my research paid off.

In Israel is a group of Jews desiring to leave the big city and start their own new community they needed a minimum of 120 names on a list. What was happening here in the Upper Room? A new community was being started. The word “church” in the New Testament is ecclesia which means “a group of people called out.” Even today the Knessett (lawmaking body in Israel) is made up of 120 representatives.

This certainly implies the Church is not just a loose association of like-minded followers of Jesus. It is a social structure with legal boundaries. It has it’s own legislature, courts and hierarchy. It is a “new city” with a constitution and authority. You are in or out. This is exactly what the Church is – with leaders having the authority to bind and loose, make laws and adjudicate them, include or exclude people from the organization, to forgive or retain sins. Only the worldwide Catholic Church could even begin to claim this status.

Mary is listed among the believers in that Upper Room. It was important that she is listed among the names with others. She is the mother of Jesus. She gave birth to him in Bethlehem as was, in a sense, giving birth to him again on Pentecost. What is our affectionate term for Pentecost? Can you sing “Happy Birthday, to you…”? Yes, it is the Birthday of the Church. What is being born? The Mystical Body of Christ. Who is there for the birth? The mother of course. Mothers have to be present when their child is born. Mary is the mother of Jesus the God-Man and Mary is the Mother of the Church, the Body of Christ. She was necessarily present at both births.

Mary was also there because the others were afraid of the descent of God in fire on this new mountain. I am convinced they trembled in fear not only of the Jews and Romans outside, but of the prophesied “baptism of fire” within—as they wondered and feared that might be. The gentle breeze was about to become a rushing wind.

But Mary was there to calm their anxieties. I bet she said something like, “Don’t be afraid my friends, the Holy Spirit has already overshadowed me and He was pure love. Just wait until you are bathed in His love!” The gentle breeze became a rushing wind but it was warm and

After nine days of praying the Holy Spirit fell in fire on the tenth day—which was the 50th day from the death of the Passover Lamb Jesus on the cross. The Jewish festival of Pentecost also celebrated the first fruits of the harvest.

Remember, Jesus said he was like a grain of wheat that would be buried in the ground. The grain must be buried and die to bear its fruit. Jesus died, was buried in the ground and rose from the dead as the first fruit. Now on the “Feast of First Fruits” the first of the harvest is brought to God. We learn that 3,000 people were added to the Church that day—all in keeping with the tremendous symbolism and deeper meaning to all these events.

And with these deep mysteries and truths we are just scratching the surface. Come to the Holy Land with us, get out your Bibles and study books (or Verbum Catholic Bible Study software) and dig deeper. “There is gold in them there hills” for those with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts and minds to learn. Enter promo code STEVERAY for a 10% discount.

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On the last day of our fantastic St. Augustine Catholic pilgrimage, I went out on the shore of the Atlantic for some beautiful shots and video of the sunrise and the waves coming in.

We had a nice Mass and lots of fun comments and heartfelt farewells. Enjoy!

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We had a relaxed morning today and everyone had time to walk along the beach and enjoy the sunny location before we boarded our bus and left at 10:30 for the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche (of the Milk) at Mission Nombre de Dios (Name of God).

The name of the milk comes from the shrine of our Lady at the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem. This grotto is where the Holy Family lived after the birth of Jesus and the place where the Wise Men visited them. A drop of milk fell to the ground as Mary nursed Jesus and the whole inside of the cave turned white and the white powder from that cave has miraculous powers today for pregnancies and lactation for mothers with difficult situations

This is also the site where Menendez landed after crossing the Atlantic ocean from Spain. In 1565. It is significant that he stepped over to kiss the foot of the cross before he planted the Spanish flag. This demonstrated his whole purpose for coming here — closing the land in the name of God.

Everyone received a gift from Corporate Travel—a very nice folding chair for our outdoor Rosary and Mass — and what perfect weather it was!

While at the waterfront grounds of “Mission Nombre de Dios”, we enjoyed a tour of the museum, an overview of the grounds, and the history of the Marian Shrine and start of Christianity in America.  A delicious (and substantial) picnic lunch was been arranged for the group.  After lunch I gave my talk “The Unknown Sorrows of Mary” and “How to Deal with Family and Friends Who’ve Left the Catholic Faith”. We also prayed the Rosary at the Chapel of Our Lady.

Free time for private prayer, to explore the grounds, or to visit the gift shop.  We ended the day with Mass at the rustic outdoor altar celebrated by Fr. Kevin Peek. The REAL first Thanksging was celebrated here! After time to regroup at our hotel we went to the quaint private dinner at the historic Rain Tree Restaurant.

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St. Augustine Florida Pilgrimage Day 2: Cathedral, Fountain of Youth, Trolley Car Tour, Atlantic Ocean

April 27, 2021

The bus took off at 8 AM this morning for the Cathedral built in 1793-97 which was built on the site of the first church from 1565. This was the first church ever built in the United States, the first town built and where the first baptisms took place in the United States. For that […]

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Back on the Road! St. Augustine Florida Pilgrimage

April 26, 2021

After 14 months grounded because of the virus situation, we are finally in the air again and decided to do a few domestic pilgrimage  to wonderful and historical Catholic sites in the United States. Today we landed in Jacksonville Florida and drove to Saint Augustine to the place where the very first town was ever […]

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Did Jesus Ascend into Heaven from Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) or from Bethany (Luke 24:50)?

April 22, 2021

Soon it will be Ascension Thursday. The Ascension always falls on a Thursday, 40 days after Resurrection Sunday. Then 9 days of praying in the Upper Room (1st Novena) and on the 50th day from the Resurrection the Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost. Pentecost means “the fiftieth day.” One of our past pilgrims wrote to […]

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Three New Pilgrimage Offerings: 2 Domestic and 1 New International

April 16, 2021

We have added three new pilgrimages for 2021.  Do you know where the Catholic Church first started in the USA? The first Mass, the first Shrine and more? It was in St. Augustine Florida. Join us for a very historical pilgrimage, renewal of baptismal vows, some great meals and an afternoon to enjoy the Atlantic […]

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Get out of the House; Go on a Local Pilgrimage; St. Augustine Florida!!

April 8, 2021

People are ready to get out of the house. Go to a warm state that is open to tourists. Florida is warm and inviting. Join us in St. Augustine Florida where Catholicism first came to America. Enjoy the history, the spirituality, the fellowship — and swimming in the ocean! Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for […]

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The Story of Oberammergau – Join us in June or August 2022

March 29, 2021

Oberammergau: The Passion of a Vow Michele Malia McAloon If you don’t subscribe yet to The Catholic Thing, click here. SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2021 In 1633, halfway into the brutal conflict between Protestants and Catholics known as the Thirty Years War, a small Bavarian village made a plea for God’s mercy and protection against a […]

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Israel Invites Us Back – Soon!

March 25, 2021

We are going back to the Holy Land in September, November and over the Christmas break in December! Join us! Visit www.FootprintsOfGod.com for more info or to register on-line!
Contact our Reservations Team at 866-557-2364, or write them at FootprintsO…

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Join Steve Ray on a Daily Journey thru the Stations of the Cross

March 24, 2021

Journey to the Cross and Resurrection. A pilgrimage through the Stations of the Cross by Steve Ray. Let’s travel these final days together by sharing the journey of the 14 Stations of the Cross. From Sunday March 21st until – Easter Sunday, April 4th, we will meditate on the 14 Stations of the Cross with […]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey – John the Baptist was a Manly Man who Teaches us Many Things

March 22, 2021

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. I know. I raised hives of bees as a boy and once I was stung 35 times in one day. And that was with protective equipment! Wild honey is […]

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Iraq in the Bible: You May be Surprised!

March 21, 2021

Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Chaldean, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means “between the two rivers”, […]

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Dangerous Camels and the Mess they Leave Behind

March 16, 2021

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 […]

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Upcoming Pilgrimages – STAY TUNED

March 8, 2021

With international flights still at a virtual standstill and most countries still closed, we have two upcoming pilgrimages in the Good ‘Ol USA. To the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin in July and the beginning of Catholicism in St. Augustine Florida in April. Also, the 2nd Holy Land is open […]

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Mass at the Holy Sepulchre

March 2, 2021

Join us on our next pilgrimage. Visit our upcoming pilgrimage page at www.FootprintsOfGod.com.

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