Pre-Pilgrimage Letter 1
Trip Date: May 23, 2011
Greetings!

Steve and Janet Ray here! As we approach our Holy Land Pilgrimage, we would like to wish you all greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus!

We are writing this in great anticipation of our time together in the Holy Land. Everything is prepared and ready for our trip, and it is getting close. Janet and I will arrive in Israel ahead of you; we want to make sure everything is in place for your arrival!


We have taken thousands of people to the Holy Land and our love for the Land and for guiding pilgrims has not abated. We are very excited to go and to share these places with YOU!


This is the first of three letters I will be sending you over the next few days to help you get prepared and energized for the trip. I will try to answer the most commonly asked questions in these letters and give you some very helpful information. 

Janet and I consider these pilgrimages profoundly enjoyable and emotionally moving even after 70+ trips to Israel in the last 15 years. It is a joy to share our favorite places with wonderful pilgrims and to see it again for the first time through your eyes!

Just wait until you celebrate Mass at the Grotto of Annunciation in Nazareth, look out over Israel from Mount Tabor while remembering the Transfiguration and its relationship to Mount Sinai. Here we see the parallels between the Old Testament and the New, between Moses and Jesus the New Moses. It is from this mountain that Jesus gave his Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). You will renew wedding vows in Cana and renew your baptismal vows in the Jordan River!

Imagine knowing that many of the places where you will stand are the very places where Jesus and Mary also stood. How can you prepare for the emotion of praying through the streets of Jerusalem along the Via Dolorosa-the original Stations of the Cross? We will pray each of the 20 Mysteries of the Rosaries at the locations in which they took place.

We have carefully planned this trip over the months to enhance your faith and knowledge and love for Jesus and his Church. It will convince you of the absolute, objective truth of Christianity as taught in the heart of the Catholic Church. It will also make the Bible and the liturgy come alive like never before.

Everyone is full of anticipation, and together with Corporate Travel we have put together a wonderful pilgrimage for you all.
corpCorporate Travel
We are very fortunate to work with Corporate Travel. When Janet and I decided to lead pilgrimages through biblical lands, we looked for the best Catholic travel agent to partner with. John Hale of Corporate Travel is authentically Catholic and loves to serve God's people. He is excellent at what he does and with Corporate Travel's involvement we will have a smooth trip with a minimum of problems. You have already experienced the care and professionalism of Suzanne Parran. She has traveled to Israel with us in the past and has been helping our pilgrims for many years.

Feel free to call Suzanne (800) 727-1999 x121 any time you have questions or need assistance with your travel arrangements, travel insurance or other needs.
 
WebOur Website
Many of you have already used our website at www.FootprintsOfGod.com to get information, see pictures, view some of the "Helpful Documents" to download Packing Lists, see the hotels we like best, and more.

If you have not taken a look especially at the documents and helpful information there, please feel free to do so. I have posted many things there to help you prepare for this trip.
PassportPassports
If you haven't done so already please look at your passport to verify:
1) Check to see if your passport is signed.
2) Make sure your passport will not expire within six months of your return. If the date
     is close to six months of expiration, call Corporate Travel IMMEDIATELY.
3) A Travel Visa is not required for U.S. passport holders others should contact
    Corporate to verify if a visa will be required
.
ReceiveWhat You Should Expect to Receive in the Mail
Within 10 days of departure you will receive your Final Travel Documents from Corporate Travel.  Enclosed in your packet you will find my Handbook for Pilgrims, your Name Tag and other documents. The Handbook is exclusive to Footprints of God Pilgrimages and only given to those who travel with us. Please review it beforehand. It will be your constant companion along the way and the more you know in advance, the more you will glean from this adventure. Please plan to keep it with you at all times.

If you do not receive this packet by May 14, please contact Corporate Travel.

VERY IMPORTANT: Your name tags are your TICKET to meals, entrance to Holy Sites, and the way you are recognized as part of our group. Wear them always! It also helps those of us who have problems remembering names. We do not suggest keeping valuables inside the velcro pocket, rather keep these items in a more secure spot on your person.
Additional Pre-Pilgrimage Letters Coming Soon
You can expect to receive two additional letters from us very soon.
Letter #2 will focus on Preparation and Packing.
Letter #3 will help you to know what to expect upon arriving in the Holy Land.

May the Lord bless you as you prepare for the pilgrimage of a lifetime!

Sincerely,
Steve & Janet Ray