Holy Land with Franciscan University of Steubenville 2017 (SOLD OUT)

08 November 2017 to 17 November 2017

Franciscan University of Steubenville has teamed up with Steve and Janet Ray to provide Holy Land Pilgrimages. Enjoy a smaller, more intimate group size, limited to only a single bus.

2018-11 Franciscan University Holy Land Pilgrimage from Steve Ray on Vimeo.


You’ll enjoy Steve and Janet’s trusted hotels, and delicious meals including some amazing dinner experiences away from the typical hotel buffet. Wine provided with all dinners along with a wide range of cuisines to experience the Holy Land to it’s fullest.

Steve personally teaches at the holy sites and shares experiences from over 130 previous trips to Israel and other biblical lands since 1995. We do everything we can to support the local Christians who only make up 1.5% of the population.

Daily Mass at the most holy sites, pray every Mystery of the Rosary where it took place, pray the Stations of the Cross on the way to Mass at Calvary and the Tomb.

Fr. Nathan Malavolti, TOR from Franciscan University will be our chaplain along the way. He is the Vice President of Pastoral Care & Evangelization.



Day 1: Franciscan U. of Steubenville Arrival in Holy Land

Everyone arrived in Tel Aviv safely and excited. Uneventful departure from the airport and drive up to Galilee. We settled into our hotel in Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee.

We had our first Mass on the shore of Galilee. Hear/see Fr. Nathan‘s excellent 1st Pilgrimage homily here.


Day 2: Cana, Nazareth and Transfiguration

03255E8E-78D3-41E9-980E-FB41C154A428We started our day in Cana of Galilee and the renewing of our wedding vows. Always an emotional and moving experience. From there we went to Nazareth to visit the Church of Annunciation and where I gave my talk “A Day in the Life of the Holy Family”.

And authentic Nazarene lunch and then onto the Mount of Transfiguration for Mass and to explore the top of the mountain. Fr. Nathan is short but excellent and dynamic homily you can see/hear here.

Free afternoon for everyone to enjoy this Sea of Galilee and the wonderful accommodations at the Ron Beach Hotel.


Day 3: Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Syria, Multiplication of Loaves, Primacy of Peter and more

Northern Galilee had all of our attention today. Starting out with the Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes. Always hard to get people out of there it’s such a beautiful place 🙂  Fr. Nathan‘s homily was exceptional and passionate and you can see/hear it here.

Up to Caesarea Philippi were Jesus said “You Are Rock!“  I gave my 1/2 hour talk entitled “Peter: the Rock, the Keys and the Chair.”  We ate a marvelous lunch at a little family restaurant up in the Golan Heights before stopping at the Syrian border to talk about the situation in the Middle East and to pray for the persecuted Christians.

After visiting the church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish we visited the church of the Primacy of Peter E. Sabella or I Give My 1/2 Hour Talk on St. John Chapter 21.

After visiting the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish we visited the Church of the Primacy of Peter where I gave my 1/2 hour talk on St. John chapter 21.

Two hours of free time at the hotel on the shore of Galilee before heading for a short drive to arguably the finest restaurant in Israel where people from Tel Aviv fly in on helicopters to have dinner. It’s owned by a Christian and we love to support him and give our pilgrims the finest dining experience you can have a nice country.

Day 4: Mass at Capernaum, Boat Ride, Eating St Peters Fish, Visitation and Arrival in Jerusalem

82F986B1-6C3E-4C9F-8655-2CF1430A965BToday we started with Mass at the Purham where Jesus said “Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood“. I gave my talk entitled “Defending the Eucharist.“ You can see/hear Fr. Nathan‘s emotional how lonely here.

Next we saw the ancient boat from the time of Jesus and we also went on a real boat out on the Sea of Gallilee and I explained the stories from my night fishing with a Jewish fisherman all night on the sea.

We ate St. Peters fish and then drove all the way to Jerusalem stopping first at the place a visitation when Mary walked for over 100 miles.

Day 5: Bethlehem all day, Solemn Entry into the Tomb

There are an unprecedented number of people in the Holy Land right now. I have never seen this many people in my 25 years of coming here and the guides and locals are saying they’ve never seen anything like it.

Today in Bethlehem there were loads of groups everywhere. That came from all over the world speaking every imaginable language. It was like nine ending river of people.

We started the day at our favorite Olivewood Store where we gave everybody two hours to enjoy all of the amazing items that were for sale. We helped and coach them to make wise purchases. Our purchases helped 65 Christian families. We also had the local Christians sing the Our Father in the original language of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. It was beautifully sung and brought people to tears.

From there we went to Mass in Shepherds Field where the angels appeared to the Shepherds on the first Christmas Eve. Another exceptional Hamily but Fr. Nathan can be heard/seen here.

Lunch at our favorite Christmas Tree Restaurant where we have three Christian brothers by bringing our business to them.

Then we went to the Church of the Nativity but the crowds were so huge and the line was so long unfortunately we are unable to get down to the place where Jesus was born. It is very difficult to make people stand in line for four hours. We even arrived during the lunch hour hoping the lines would be shorter but they were just as long.

An hour and a half of free time at the hotel before we all gathered to walk over to the Holy Sepulchre for the Solemn Entry where our group got a special reception by the Franciscans with organ accompaniment and we all bypassed the four hour line to go into the tomb of our Lord.

Dinner and a tour of the Holy Shroud Exhibit closed out the day. Enjoy!

Day 6: Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Upper Room, Passover Lamb, DANCING, and more!

Great day in the land of our Lord and Lady. Great homily at Gethsemane here.
Lots of amazing sites and experiences. Enjoy the dancing!

Day 7: Via Dolorosa, Mass at Calvary, Western Wall and more

F5ED32C3-E84E-432B-99E5-6F32E9F5D9F8 Today was our very early morning. We wanted to walk the Via Dolorosa before the sun rose and arrive at Calvary with our hand held olivewood crosses. We all touched the top of Calvary and had Mass at the foot of the cross. Homily here.

We also went to the Western Wall and then had a nice walk through the old city of Jerusalem for lunch at a favorite restaurant to help support the Catholic family. We gave everyone the rest of the afternoon off for confession, Eucharistic Adoration and time to explore Jerusalem on their own.

We ended the day with a magnificent dinner on the rooftop of Jerusalem looking out over the holy city.

Day 8: Final Day Riding Camels, Swimming in Dead Sea and more

Today is the last day and a lot of fun. We visit the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, ride camels and have lunch in Jericho. And that’s not all — there’s a whole lot more. Enjoy this video of our final day!

For the homily of the concluding Mass, click here.

Don’t forget to watch the second video for today which is all of the final Farewells and Comments.

Holy Land Pilgrimage Final Farewells and Comments

It is always fun to hear what people have to say about the pilgrimage we just completed. They’re enjoyable, interesting and worth listening to. Enjoy!