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Happy New Year
It has been a very full 2010 for the Ray family. Lots of loving, laughing, learning, crying, traveling...and some miracles.

As many know, my father had a stroke last spring and almost died. At 91 and 89 years old, my parents were still living in the home where I grew up. After the stroke we quickly sold their house and moved them into our home. We turned our dining room into a hospital room.
Great Grandchild, Bella, napping with my Dad
My son Jesse and his wife Anna took over their care. Our family gave them 24-hour hospice care in our home, never expecting him to see another Christmas.

To our amazement he began improving. Soon, the man who could hardly sit up in bed, was navigating the stairs with his cane and entertaining the grandkids. After my mom and dad celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary, they moved into Independence Village nearby. So, Dad will be with us this Christmas.

The year was also full of other good things. I finished the 250-page Catholic Scripture Study commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians (studies on Genesis and Acts where my projects in previous years). Ignatius Press gave me a contract to write a book on Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land as we continue to love leading pilgrimages.

On our 34th wedding anniversary this year we learned that grandbaby #9 is on the way. We are excited about that too.

Ten different countries felt the pounding of my running shoes this year, and a huge fitness goal was reached in November as my son and I each ran 1,000 miles in less than a year. We are going to do it again in 2011!! The benefits of exercise so great, we hope you will set your own goals for physical and spiritual health next year.

In the next year or two we hope to continue working on the Footprints of God video series. Pray that Ignatius Press comes up with the funding.

More than anything, Janet and I are full of joy at being Catholic - still hard to believe that God opened our blind eyes. We love being a family, teaching and sharing the Catholic faith, and leading people in the footprints of God.

Beatification of Pope John Paul II

Pilgrimage to Rome

April 27th - May 5th 2011

It was announced January 14th, 2011, Pope John Paul II will be beatified on May 1st 2011!!

We are preparing to bring a group to this once-in-our-lifetime event. Rooms have been booked and preparations are being made. Prices and more information will be available very soon.

Rest assured we will put together a fantastic itinerary with teaching from Steve Ray, and Elizabeth Lev. Mark your calendars for a April 27th departure, we will spend 6 glorious nights in Rome, and return May 5th.

This pilgrimage is going to sell out fast so please contact Suzanne right away:   or call 1(800) 727-1999x121 to reserve your spot or get on the waiting list.
Wedding at Cana...well, almost
You see, our friend from Israel, Amer Shehadeh, who all my former Holy Land pilgrims know well, had a beautiful daughter married recently. Janet and I went to the wedding in Nazareth...and it was only four miles from Cana.

The wedding takes a whole week. Thousands of people are involved with extended families from both sides attending pre-wedding ceremonies and feasts. The family is much more involved than in typical American weddings. 

Families meet and agree when dating begins. They are involved in a week-long process when the engagement is agreed upon. No boy and girl buying a ring on their own! The engagement is a family affair! Then the week of the wedding -- oh my! First about a thousand members of the bride's family put on a feast. After 10:00 PM the main members of the bride's family arrive and are introduced. The celebration and introduction goes on well after midnight.

Two days later the bride's family of almost 1,000 put on their feast and after 10:00 PM the groom and significant members of his family arrive to be introduced. The party and celebration goes on until well after midnight. The bride is hosted above the heads of the crowd in her chair and they dance frantically and joyfully as she tries to smile as she is jostled high above the dancing crowds.

The groom is then hoisted high above the dancing crowds on their shoulders. He sings and waves his arms around for a long time before the young men, accompanied by pulsing Arabic music, dancing men and singing girls - his is doused with water and lathered in shaving cream and is publicly shaved so he is ready to kiss his bride. 

Two days later the wedding takes place with the important members of the family gathered beforehand. The women stay inside advising and counseling the bride with hundreds of pictures taken. In the meantime, the fathers, the uncles, the grandfathers, the firstborn sons and men of the clan gather for the final council. "We are here to take the bride. Do you finally hand her over to our son?" The father of the bride responds, "Let it be so! 

The bride is veiled and the cars drive in a caravan to the church where the bride and groom become man and wife in a beautiful Mass rich with ancient significance and local tradition. Everyone shakes hands and the bride and groom take off on their honeymoon. 

But the family involvement doesn't end there. The family takes care of each other. Each family collects money for emergencies. If someone loses a job, a house, or has a medical expense the family can pull together $50,000 over night to take care of their own. And divorce is as rare as a two-headed camel.

When a man mistreats his wife or threatens to leave, the bride's family arrive and take the husband for a walk and when the walk is over he is warned that the next "walk" might not be as friendly. And all of this is why premarital sex, abortion, and divorce are almost unheard of in Nazareth.

So we joined the locals for a wedding near Cana of Galilee and we were whisked off to ancient biblical times as we lived the Bible in the Holy Land.

For More Information
about Pilgrimages Call

Corporate Travel Service

(800) 727-1999

 ext. 121 Suzanne
Dates in 2012 now being booked.

01/12/11 20 day Speaking Tour In Asia
03/04/11 Columbus OH, Men's Conf.
03/07/11 Grapevine TX, St. Francis 
03/11/11 Huntley IL, St. Mary's
03/13/11 Sauk Centre, MN, Our Lady
03/20/11 Lawton, OK, Holy Family
03/25/11 Chapin, SC, Our Lady--Lakes
03/31/11 Port Huron, MI, Holy Trinity 04/01/11 Cincinnati, OH, Immaculate
04/26/11 Detroit, MI, Legatus
05/12/11 Fort Worth, TX, Legatus  07/29/11 Steubenville, OH, University 08.01.11 Walsingham, ENG, NewDawn
08/13/11 London,  ENG, Westminster

A Grandpa decided that shopping for Christmas presents had become too difficult.  He didn't know what new-fangled gadgets his grandchildren wanted, so he decided to send them each a $50 check in the mail a week before the family party.

In each of their Christmas cards he wrote:

"Merry Christmas. I Love you. ~Grandpa"

P.S. 'Buy your own present!'

The Christmas gathering came and went, and Grandpa was troubled by how distant the grandkids seemed. None of them thanked him for his card that he had mailed them the week before.

Then one day he was sorting out his study and under a pile of papers, he found a little pile of checks for his grandchildren.  He had completely forgotten to put them in with the Christmas cards.

150 discount

Steve Ray, 3588 Plymouth Rd #277, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108