Holy Land Year of Mercy Pilgrimage – September 2016

18 September 2016 to 27 September 2016

Thanks to Luis Gorres for sharing his pictures with the group. He wrote: “We went on the September 2016 Tour of Mercy to the Holy land with Steve Ray and his wife. It was a blast and very eye opening. I thought I wasn’t interested in seeing the Holy Land in order to enhance my faith. I was very wrong. Saying the Rosary now comes to life for me. My wife and I are now saving to bring our children with us. I’ve included a link to all the pictures I took during our Pilgrimage. Please feel free to visit our album. The password is listed below..

https://israelwsteveray.shutterfly.com/ PASSWORD: Notredame


Holy Sepulchre's New Renovation Video

Just thought you’d like to see what’s going on at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (video below). It’s been under renovation for several months and it’s a year-long project. It makes our life a lot more difficult and access more challenging.

While this is renovation is in progress we cannot have our High Masses because that space is blocked. It would work for a group of 20 or 25 but certainly not a full bus.

This is when it’s good to have friends at the Holy Sepulchre who can help us do as much as we can. I stopped in and touched base with all of them today. They said they do anything they can to help us on our next trips.

Doug, don’t worry this will be finished by the time the Equestrian Order arrives next year 🙂

Arrival in Israel

FAMILY AND FRIENDS: please leave comments for the people on the dog image and I will read them to them each day on the bus 🙂

First day of our September pilgrimage is off to a great start. Everyone arrived in good shape and we are now in Tiberias.

We just had a wonderful Mass in a 1000 year old Crusader church and a great dinner. Some people went swimming in the Sea of Galilee and others are now in bed awaiting our second day in the Holy Land.

Transfiguration, Renewal of Wedding Vows in Cana, Exploring Nazareth

Another great day with a fun and attentive group. First we had Mass on the top of the Mount of Transfiguration.For the homily, click here.

Second, we renewed wedding vows in Cana of Galilee, had a great lunch in Nazareth and then went to the Church of Annunciation.  We prayed the Rosary at the very place where the angel met Mary 2000 years ago. Enjoy!


Beatitudes, "You are Peter", Multiplication of Loaves, Primacy of Peter, Magdala and an Over the Top Dinner

To much to say. You will just have to watch the videos. Too much for 15 minute YouTube limitations so we did two 10 minute videos. Enjoy! For Fr. Xavier’s homily at Beatitudes, click here.

Part I

Part II

Boat Ride on Galilee, Mass Where Jesus Said "Eat My Flesh", Steve's Conversion Story and up to Jerusalem!

Enjoy today’s adventures! Boat ride on Galilee, viewing ancient 1st century boat, Mass in Capernaum where Jesus said, “Eat My Flesh”, eating St. Peter’s fish.

Steve’s conversion story on the drive to Jerusalem, arrival at the Catholic Notre Dame Hotel, meeting with the Bishop of Jerusalem, great dinner and bed…ready for Bethlehem tomorrow.

Bethlehem All Day: Nativity, Mass in a Cave, Dancing and Eating Passover Lamb

Great day in Bethlehem! Enjoy! For the homily in Bethlehem’s caves, click here.

Mass at Gethsemane, Story of Salvation overlooking Jerusalem, Our Father in Different Languages, Upper Room and more

Lots of tears at the powerful Mass at Gethsemane. For the homily, click here. The Our Father in multiple languages on Mount of Olives.

Steve’s “Story of Salvation History” before going to the Upper Room and more.

Steve’s talk at Gethsemane:

4:00 AM Wake Up for Via Dolorosa, Mass at Calvary and Visit to the Tomb, Western Wall and amazing meals

4:00 AM wake-up?? Are you crazy?? Yes, crazy like a fox — and everyone thanked us later. What an amazing morning walking the Via Dolorosa arriving at Calvary for Mass and then an entrance into the Tomb on Sunday morning.

We came back the to the Notre Dame for breakfast and then off to the Western Wall (for Steve’s talk see below) and the Holy Shroud Exhibit. The afternoon was free but included a delectable lunch at Rossini’s in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem.

Everyone had the afternoon free to explore, nap, pray and discover. We had a magnificent dinner on the rooftop of Jerusalem! Enjoy!

Steve’s talk at Western Wall

Camel Rides, Floating in Dead Sea and more including Final Farewells and Comments

Adventurous last day! Israel Museum, feet in Jordan River, Jericho, Qumran, floating in Dead Sea, riding camels – Farewells and final comments. Final Pilgrimage homily here.

Fun Farewells and Comments

Transfiguration, Cana, Nazareth and Swimming in Galilee

Great day today and everyone had a blast. Mass at the top of the Mountain of Transfiguration with my talk comparing the Old and New Testaments. For Fr. Dan’s homily at Transfiguration, click here.

Renewing of wedding vows in Cana and praying the Rosary at the very place where the angel Gabriel met Mary in Nazareth and said “Hail Full of Grace, the Lord Is with You”.

Several hours free at the shores of Galilee for swimming, resting,  reading the Scriptures, watching the waves ripple ashore and sharing all the experiences with newfound friends.