Saint Paul Cruise – October 2015

25 October 2015 to 08 November 2015





Journal

Embarking on our 14 Day St. Paul Pilgrimage Seminar Cruise! Bella Roma!!

Today everyone arrived and we took off to see Ancient Rome: Peter and Paul’s Mammertine Prison, the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, San Clemente Church and Mass with a tour at St. John Lateran – the Mother Church of the World with the Chair of St. Peter.

Great dinner at La Pilotta Di Mario and home to bed.

Every day I will record Fr. Larry Richards’s homilies and post them here on YouTube (you know this fun, popular and very devout priest, right?)  I will also put up a 15 minute highlights of the day video. Enjoy!

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL AND TOUR OF ANCIENT ROME

FR. LARRY’S HOMILY AT ST. JOHN LATERAN, MOTHER CHURCH OF THE WORLD

Second Day of Pilgrimage Cruise: Mass at Tomb of St. JP II, Death of St. Paul and more

Second full day of our trip. A greeting from Fr. Larry Richards and his homily at the Altar Tomb of St. John Paul II.

Today was a day of St. Paul: the site of his martyrdom, the Church of St. Paul outside the Walls where his tomb is today and the Catacombs of St. Sebastian where the bones of Peter and Paul were kept in the early centuries.

Enjoy!

OUR EXCITING DAY 2 IN ROME

 

FR. LARRY RICHARDS’ HOMILY AT THE TOMB OF ST. JP II

Day 1: St. Paul Cruise with Steve Ray and Fr. Larry Richards

Today everyone arrived and we took off to see Ancient Rome: Peter and Paul’s Mammertine Prison, the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, San Clemente Church and Mass with a tour at St. John Lateran – the Mother Church of the World with the Chair of St. Peter.

Great dinner at La Pilotta Di Mario and home to bed.

Every day I will record Fr. Larry Richards’s homilies and post them here on YouTube (you know this fun, popular and very devout priest, right?)  I will also put up a 15 minute highlights of the day video. Enjoy!

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL AND TOUR OF ANCIENT ROME

FR. LARRY’S HOMILY AT ST. JOHN LATERAN, MOTHER CHURCH OF THE WORLD

Visiting the Pope, then Visiting Jesus: Our Journey across Italy

  Everyone saw the Pope! The highlight of everyone’s trip to Rome is the General Audience with the pope. And even though it was raining when we started it cleared up and was nice for everyone during his welcome and talks in Saint Peter’s Square. 

Our pilgrims had good seats and were able to get close-up views of the pope as he drove drove by and they have some great videos and pictures.

After lunch we had time for lunch and some shopping and then we took off across Italy from Rome heading through the mountains to Manoppella. 

  Here we had Mass in front of the face of Christ. This is the cloth that was covering his face which is mentioned in Saint John’s Gospel chapter 20.  After the resurrection it was discovered by Saints Peter and John.

(GROUP PICTURE IN FRONT OF THE FACECLOTH OF CHRIST)

   Celebrating Mass in front of that face cloth is very moving. His eyes are open, the moment after he came back to life and he looks right straight into your eyes. We are looking into the face of God and he’s looking right back at us.

Then we moved on to Lanciano for the night and tomorrow will have Mass at the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano before boarding our 5-star ferry for 24 hours to Greece. 

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR DAY

THE GOSPEL READING AND FR. LARRY RICHARDS’ HOMILY

Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano and Depart for Athens on 24-hour, 5-Star Ferry

Highlights of the day…

Homily at Lanciano 

From Italy to Greece

We stepped off Italian soil and onto the beautiful ferry that took us all the way to Patras Greece, where St. Andrew’s skull is venerated. We then took a bus ride to Athens where we meet up with the cruise ship that will carry us like a floating hotel to all the amazing locations of St. Paul.

Fr. Larry’s homily during Mass on our ship.

St. Paul Cruise Day 6 Thessaloniki 

Last night we had some amazing winds and waves but everyone weathered well. It was amazing to meditate and St. Paul and the, at least for shipwrecks he experienced, and to be able to see the waves and the wind as he would’ve seen it on the Mediterranean Sea.

We are on a large heavy luxury cruise ship but when Paul and his companions, and Saint John and Mary heading for Ephesus and back to Jerusalem, and other sea-faring travelers voyaged the Mediterranean, they didn’t have the luxury we experienced. And those days they had to rent space on the deck of cargo ships and provide all of their own supplies for the voyage.

Imagining the life and traveling experience and sufferings of the early Christians puts us to shame.

Today we started our our day with Mass at the Catholic Cathedral in Thessaloniki Greece. From there we did a tour of the Thessaloniki and came back for a great lunch and some free time. Some of the folks went back into Thessaloniki to explore some more.

Later in the day I gave my talk “The Life and Teaching of St. Paul” to get everyone ready for all of the sites will visit in the next few days.

Then another good dinner and a free evening before heading north to Philippi. Enjoy the videos.

HIGHLIGHTS OF TODAY IN THESSALONIKI 

HOMILY IN CATHEDRAL OF THESSALONIKI 

St. Paul Cruise: Philipi and Kavala

We spent the day exploring Philipi. We had Mass at a beautiful site with water flowing around us as we renewed our Baptismal vows.

Here is the recording of the Homily in Philipi.

Exotic and Delightful Istanbul

Turkey is dangerous, correct? Different, dirty, unfriendly – right? NO!

As all of our pilgrims discovered today Istanbul is a beautiful, clean, friendly, historical, and interesting city. We spent the whole day touring Istanbul and all its historical wonders.

The only thing that leaves us a little bit cold is that it is a Muslim city full of mosques. But most of the people are not practicing and the city is very Western European. The food is delicious, and the experience of touring this city is both exotic and exciting.

Most Catholics have never set foot inside of mosque so I took them all inside the famous Blue Mosque so they could see what a mosque is and learn a bit about Islam. Then to the Hagia Sophia which was once the largest church in the world for a thousand years before St. Peter’s Basilica was built. The stunning grandeur of this glorious edifice impressed everyone.

We ate at a traditional Turkish restaurant so everyone could sample a variety of Turkish foods before going to the Spice Market which is an experience all on its own.
Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was moving. Before he was pope, John the 23rd served here as a priest for 10 years. We came back to the ship and everybody had a free evening before we head off for Pergamum. 

For those who are interested, in April 2016 we are taking a very thorough pilgrimage through all of Turkey by bus. We’re going to visit all of the biblical sites including Istanbul and even Tarsus where St. Paul was born and Antioch where we were first called Christians.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR DAY IN ISTANBUL

Video of the HOMILY AT CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Steve Speaks at Satan's Throne - our Day at Pergamum

  Great day in Pergamum Turkey. Read Revelation 2:12-17 to understand today’s tour. 

STEVE ACTS AS ST. JOHN’S MESSENGER TO PERGAMUM AND SATAN’S THRONE

HIGHLIGHTS OF TODAY’S TOUR OF PERGAMUM

FR. LARRY’S HOMILY 

Three Mini Talks by Steve in Ephesus

  
The first videot is a short 10 minute video of a talk that I gave at the church of Saint Mary in Ephesus. This is where the third I can medical Council declare that Mary was the Theo tacos, or in English “The Mother of God.”

Steve’s 10 Minute Talk on Mary in Ephesus at the Council Church of 431 AD

The second video contains two short six-minute videos: first, my talk at the “Sex Billboard in Ephesus” that was from ancient Ephesus during the time of St. Paul and in the talk I discussed so sex affects men and how we should be holy; second, my short talk at the tomb of St. John in Ephesus.

Steve’s Shirt Talk on the Sex Billboard in Ephesus and Steve’s Talk at the Tomb of the Apostle St. John

With St. Paul in Athens - Speaking to People in their Own Language

Steve on Mars Hills with Acropolis behind

We said goodbye to our beautiful ship this morning and we drove into downtown Athens. First we went to mass Mass at the Cathedral of Athens Dedicated to Saint Dionysus the Areopagus.
  
We then drove around Athens for a tour before arriving at the Acropolis. I started out by taking everyone up to the top of Mars Hill to read Acts Chapter 17 about Paul’s time here. You can hear/see the whole talk on the separate video below – and see pictures as well.

Then to the top of the Acropolis to visit the Parthenon before coming down for a nice lunch on the boulevard and arriving at our Metropolitan Hotel.

 In the evening Fr. Larry Richards and I sat up in the front and fielded questions from the group. Panel discussions like this are always fun. Then a great dinner and off to bed and early start tomorrow to visit Corinth.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR DAY IN ATHENS 

STEVE’S TALK ON MARS HILL WHERE ST. PAUL GAVE HIS BRILLIANT EXPLANATION OF THE GOSPEL TO THE ATHENIANS

FR. LARRY RICHARD’S HOMILY IN ATHENS