Holy Land Year of Mercy – October 2016

05 October 2016 to 14 October 2016

Comments from Pilgrim after returning home:

We have returned physically from our wonderful trip to the Holy Land…but I will never be the same!

We visited all the 20 places of the Rosary and said a decade at each location. Mass was celebrated every day – outside on the slopes of the Mt of Beatitudes and overlooking Shepherd’s Field, at the Church of the Annunciation (inscription on the altar: “The Word was made flesh here.”), Ein Karem (Church of the Visitation of Mary visiting Elizabeth), Bethlehem (!), inside the Church of the Agony (beside the Garden of Gethsemane), the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre (which means “tomb”) in Jerusalem, and other awe-inspiring locations.

It was astounding and life-changing to “stand on the rocky shore of Galilee Lake” and see what Jesus saw! To look out over the hillside where He gave the Beatitudes to hundreds of locals, the bay where He called His disciples from their boats and nets, to swim in the Sea of Galilee! and so much more—

We drove around in a 55-seater coach bus on asphalt roads and would see signs for…look, did you just see that?…Nazareth! Caesarea Phillippi! (where Jesus told Peter He would build His church upon him and gave him the keys to the kingdom) Magdala! (as in Mary of) Tabgha! (as in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes for thousands of people) and “oh! Jerusalem”… It was hard to believe we were actually there.

My favorite place, though, was Capernaum. We had Mass in a beautiful church built over St. Peter’s house, where Jesus lived for 3 years. Standing on the shoreline outside a small church where He appeared after His Resurrection to some of the disciples (“Throw your net over the other side!”) moved me to tears.

This was a pilgrimage, not a trip (and certainly not a vacation! haha) —for example, we met in the lobby at 4:30 am (yes, you read that correctly) in order to cross the street and walk through the New Gate (see attached photo taken later that morning) into old Jerusalem to pray the Stations of the Cross along the streets. We ended up at the Holy Sepulchre (the huge church which covers Golgotha of the cross and Jesus’ tomb on Calvary) at 5:30 and did not have to deal with any crowds as a result. Having had a private tour of an exhibit of the Shroud of Turin the evening before made this experience all the more depressing…yet joyful!

Did you know you can still buy spikenard, the oil used to anoint Jesus’ head and feet?

The renewal of our Baptismal vows while standing in the Jordan River and floating (can’t swim here, the water’s too salty!) in the Dead Sea were H2O highlights that I really wanted to experience in order to live out my tourist inclinations.

You’ve probably stopped reading long before this, but I highly recommend going on a pilgrimage with a group such as the one we joined. Everything is done for you – travel itinerary, tour guides, private masses, restaurants and special shops that cater to Steve Ray’s groups, nice hotels, tipping, scheduling, etc. Check out this website for more info (and no, I am not getting a kickback!)


Watch these videos or do some Google searches if you are more of an armchair traveler (that’s ok! Just DO IT!) It will deepen your faith and draw you closer to God.

May God bless you, Family and Friends. God loves each one of us more than we know.


Arrival of our Excited Pilgrims in Israel

Even though the El Al flight was a bit delayed, everyone arrived in good spirits and excited for the trip of a lifetime – which we will make sure they have!! Enjoy today’s short movie.

Day 3 in 2 Parts: Beatitudes, "You are Rock!" Multiplication of Loaves, Primacy of Peter, Piano Concert and more

Enjoy our incredible Day 3 including driving to the Syrian Border and praying for our Christian brothers and sisters being slaughtered within our eyesight. Enjoy the two videos as you join us virtually for this Holy Land pilgrimage. For Fr. Dan’s homily at Beatitudes, click here.

Part One:

Part Two:

Galilee Boat Ride, Mass at Capernaum, Eating St. Peter's Fish, Visitation, Jerusalem

Enjoy the video of our rich and exciting day. Fr. Good’s homily at Capernaum, see below.

Homily at Capernaum

Bethlehem All Day in 2 Parts

Part One with shopping mass at Shepherds Field (for homily click here) and lunch at the Christmas Tree Restaurant, New Saint and Dinner of Passover Lamb Dancing and Hooka Pipe

Part Two


Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Western Wall, Kibbutz Lunch, Dormition of Mary, Upper Room, Prison of Christ and more

Full day. Enjoy!

Homily at Gethsemane

Via Dolorosa, Enter the Tomb, Mass at Calvary and more

Big day  enjoy! Homily at Calvary here.


Final Day: Dead Sea Floating, Camel Riding and more

Part One

Part Two

Fr. Dan’s final pilgrimage homily, click here.

Via Dolorosa, Mass at Calvary, Enter the Tomb, Eating on Roof of Jerusalem & Jerusalem's Bishop

Great day! Enjoy!