Day Seven – Final Day of Pilgrimage before Egypt

by Steve Ray on September 8, 2007

 To see the whole pilgrimage with all the videos click here 
Visit > The Pilgrimages > Virtual Pilgrimages > September 2007 Holy Land & Egypt Pilgrimage

People like to have some extra free time to absorb the Holy City of Jerusalem or take other adventures—or to catch up on sleep. So we always add a “free day” at the end of the Holy Land pilgrimage. But for those who want to see more sites and have planned adventures, we offer an option trip to Qumran where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls and then to Masada where the Jews made their last stand against Rome in 72 AD. It is along the Dead Sea deep in the arid Judean Wilderness.

It is a stunning site and present day pilgrims have the great advantage of a cable car to take them up and down. Next we went to JerichoJericho is an important biblical city which Joshua conquered by marching around the city blowing trumpets. Jesus visited Jericho many times and we saw the Sycamore Tree of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:4) and the Mount of Temptation where Satan took Jesus to show him the kingdoms of the world (Mt 4). It is also on the road to Jericho where the parable of the Good Samaritan took place.Jericho is in the Palestinian West Bank and we have to cross the checkpoint (like at Bethlehem) to get in and out. Jericho is the oldest inhabited city in the world AND the lowest city in the world. It is about 1,400 feet below sea level. The lunch in Jericho is a treat. The restaurant is also a shop and has one of the largest selections of Dead Sea products. Those who will not go to Egypt with us tomorrow had a chance to ride a camel.


After lunch we took a short tour of the city, mainly to see the Sycamore Tree associated with the short man Zacchaeus mentioned in Luke 19:1-10.After lunch we did what everyone was waiting for – swimming, or should I say, bobbing and floating in the Dead Sea. The temperature was over 100 degrees and every one that joined the trip (a little over ½ of the pilgrims) had a great time floating in the water with their heads, arms and feet sticking up in the air as they each bobbed in the water, unable to sink. A great time was had by all. 

We arrived back in time to give them an hour or two free before Mass. Only about eight pilgrims stayed back, including Fr. Bernie and Fr. Steve since I had taken them on this trip a year and a half ago, so they already saw these places. The few who stayed back visited the Old City, prayed at the Holy Sepulchre, etc. 

We celebrated Mass at the Notre Dame Center, all the religious items and gifts were blessed by the priests. We all hit the sack. About eight people fly home tomorrow. The rest, including Janet and I, Dee McNosky our escort and the two good Fathers will board our bus at 7:30 AM to head for Egypt.

I hope to have internet access from Egypt, but in Egypt you just can’t count on such things—VERY different from modern Israel. Even if I am unable to upload videos, I will still try to give a short report so you can know how our trip to Egypt is going. Pray for us and we will pray for all those who read this blog.


  • Genevieve says:

    Way to lead the dancing the other night, Anne and D! You are hilarious! Mom and dad, why didn’t I see you dancin’ it up?

    Safe travels to Egypt… My prayers go with you.
    Love, Genevieve

  • Anon says:

    The Canons Regular of St John Cantius in Chicago ( celebrated the Nativity of the B.V.M with a Tridentine Latin High Mass. After Mass the traditional Blessing of Seeds was given from the Rituale Romanum 1962. The Canons also celebrated today the 100th anniversary of “Pascendi,” the encyclical of Pius X condemning Modernism, the heresy of all heresies. They lead the faithful in renewing their devotion to Our Lady and to the Church by professing the “Oath against Modernism” of Pope St Pius X.

  • Jackie Fox says:

    Hi Nina & Paul McEachern,

    OK, the break’s over – I need your prayers again for Monday Sept. 10 at 12 noon. It’s a big one!! Paul has to help, too!

    Big news in my neighborhood. Whoa!

    We can’t wait to see what Egypt is like for you. It seems like you have been gone forever.

    Continue to have fun – you still have lots of time there to see new things. Enjoy every minute!


  • Renfer Family says:

    Fr. Steve,

    Have a safe trip to Egypt. That mountain top looked freaky. Did you go in the dead sea? That looked really cool. What did it feel like?

    See you soon,

    The Renfers

  • Pat Hornung says:


    Not sure if I saw you in the Dead Sea, but I am sure you must have been in the group. You were brave to do the cable car, not sure if I could have managed that one. Didn’t see you on a camel…hope you have your own pictures of that to show me.

    I am happy that there was some laughter with one of my other blogs about your smoking and sleeping late in the mornings, but I realize this has to be a huge sacrifice for you and Praise The Lord…your doing it !!! I think HE must be smiling down upon you.

    I think the camera man enjoys filming Becky with eating and drinking…lol

    My best to you, Becky and Pam.


  • Pam Beauvais says:

    Lynn and all,
    I have spent the entire day unpacking, reviewing my treasures of souvenirs and reading/watching the blog and videos….it’s wonderful. Have been thinking and praying for all of you and your camel rides. I know you are enjoying Egypt, pyramids, Mt Sinai and am anxiously awaiting today’s blog/video. love to all, Pam

  • Don says:

    Ray, did you review this video before posting? Looks like you caught a nudist at the Dead Sea. 🙂

    When I was a young man, I was impressed by the rebels at Masada and this was reinforced by the mini-series that came out around then. After looking at this through now-Catholic eyes, I no longer have any admiration. They choose the cowardly way out through suicide. They did not wish to submit themselves to their captors. Cross-reference this to the Christain martyrs that with faith in God did submit themselves willing to the tortures and taunts of the Romans.

    There was at least one more episode of suicide like Masada in northem Israel. I think that spirit embodies the spirit of self-assertion of Jewish schimatics who, by refusing the Messiah instead of accepting God’s plan together with His faithful Jewish Remnant, choose to insist on dictating the terms of salvation.

    Let us pray with the Church for the conversion of the Jews (Good Friday prayer):

    Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise.
    Almighty and everlasting God, you who do not turn away the Jews also from your mercy: hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that, the light of your truth which is Christ being known, they might come out of their darkness. Through our Lord the same Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.


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