Holy Land Pilgrimage with Fr. Chris Alar, MIC – May 2015

11 May 2015 to 20 May 2015


Holy Land Pilgrimage with Fr. Chris Alar, MIC - May, 2015

Day 1: Arrival

Fifty pilgrims arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and off we went north to Tiberias to begin our adventure following Our Lord Jesus through his own land.

Fr. Chris Alar (Fr. Joseph) from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception joined us as spiritual director and is already loved by everyone.

Enjoy our arrival and trip to Galilee along with Mass on the shore of Galilee. Tomorrow we visit the Mount of Transfiguration, Cana and Nazareth. I will be recording all of Father’s homilies and posting them here for everyone’s edification.

Day 2 at Transfiguration, Cana and Nazareth

Steve Ray here to share with you our great day with 50 excited pilgrims. We try to stay with a smaller, one-bus group to give folks a marvelous, intimate and personal – and the best Catholic experience possible in the Holy Land.

Pope Paul VI called the Holy Land the 5th Gospel and we take it as our mission to help our pilgrims “read” this 5th Gospel. 

Today we visited Mount Tabor to celebrate Mass at the place of the Transfiguration where we prayed the Mystery of that event. Then to Cana of Galilee to renew our wedding vows.

Nazareth is always a blessing – where we stand where Mary stood when the Angel Gabriel came to announce the good news to her. I also give my talk ” A Day in the Life of the Holy Family” in the cave where Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived their Silent Thirty Years in Nazareth. 

Hope you enjoy the videos for today. The first video is our pilgrimage and second is Fr. Chris’ excellent homily at the Church of the Transfiguration.

Adventures for Today in the Holy Land


Fr. Chris Alar’s Homily (priest with Marians of the Immaculate Conception)


Day 3: The Rock, The Keys, The Shepherd & The Fishermen

Today was a great day in Northern Galilee and it all centered on Peter. But first we had Mass at the Beatitudes and Deacon Thaddeus did a marvelous job with his homily. You can hear his whole homily in the second video below.

Then we went up to the Lebanese border and visited Caesarea Philippi which is today known as Banias. There I gave my very fun talk on Peter, the rock, the keys and the chair. We climbed around on the rocks and saw it all with her own eyes. This is where Jesus told Peter his name was Rock and gave him the keys of his kingdom.

We also drove past the Syrian border and looked over into the areas where ISIS is raping and killing Christians. There was no danger because they could never come to Israel but we all stopped and prayed the Divine Mercy for the suffering Christians across the border.

You can see all the other things we did and the fun we had and the things we learned by watching the videos below. Enjoy!

Our Day in Galilee and along the Lebanese and Syrian Border

Deacon Thaddeus’ Homily at the Mount of Beatitudes

Day 4: Boat Ride, Capernam, to Jerusalem

Great day again with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, then to see the 1st century boat. From there to Mass at Capernaum and a tour of the site. You can hear Fr. Chris’s excellent homily on the Eucharist below.

Lunch of St. Peter’s fish, Steve Ray’s conversion story on the way to Jerusalem. Stop at the Visitation (Mary had to walk 100 miles to get there to visit Elizabeth). Then to our castle of a hotel at the Notre Dame in Jerusalem. Enjoy!

Full Day in this Video

Fr. Alar’s Homily in this Video

Day 5: All day in bethlehem

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

Day 6: Where Was Mary Born? Where Did Jesus Sweat Blood? What was Fr. Chris Alar Wearing?

The pilgrims learned a lot today and there were many tears. Gethsemane for Mass and a biblical description. St. Anne’s where Mary was born and the Western (Wailing) Wall.

Enjoy as you join us for Day 6 of our Holy Land Pilgrimage with Steve and Janet Ray — and Fr. Chris Alar and Deacon Thaddeus of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

Fr. Christ wearing new saint's robe

(I videoed Dcn. Thaddeus’ homily which was excellent, but it was so echoey in the Church of the Agony that it cannot be understood; sorry!)

Today Miriam of Jesus Crucified – the Arab Carmelite whose cloak we wore yesterday as we venerated her relics at her convent in Jerusalem – was canonized in Rome by Pope Francis.

Our friend Fr. Damien concelebrated the at the mass in Rome for the canonization. We brought him here to see Sister Miriam of Jesus Crucified’s relics a few months ago. You can read his blog about the canonization in which you participated in here http://dzehnle.blogspot.it/2015/05/the-canonization-of-levitating.html

He did this while we were in her homeland, visiting her convent and wearing her cloak!!!!!! Yesterday we venerated her relics in Bethlehem. Here is his homily at the canonization. For more on this convent and our visit, see my video from yesterday in Bethlehem.

Day 7: Mass in the Tomb; Praying for Priests where they Began

The highlight of the whole pilgrimage is praying the Via Dolorosa, touching the top of Mount Calvary where the Blood of Jesus flowed and having Mass inside the Tomb. I tell people that when the priest brings us the Body of Christ in the Tomb that Jesus comes out of the tomb for us again TODAY!

The rest of the day on the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. Enjoy!

Via Dolorosa and Mass in the Tomb

Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and more…

Last Day of Pilgrimage: Camels, Dead Sea Floating

Just watch. How can I explain this marvelous day. Even a blessing from the Cardinal of Seoul Korea at the Jordan River.

From Mass in Jerusalem to the Temple Model at the Israel Museum, from Jericho to the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. Oh, yeah, floating in the Dead Sea and riding camels too.

Fr. Chris Alar’s excellent final homily tying it all together at the end of the pilgrimage.

Comments and Farewells

Hope you enjoy all the fun and farewells at the end of the trip. Always sad to say Good-bye!