There is so much going on in the Church and in our family that I thought it would be good to reach out and stay connected with you.

Pentecost is one of my favorite Catholic feast 
days because it is the anniversary of our conversion to the Church. This Sunday marks our 19 year anniversary. 
When we entered the Church in 1994 there were six of us, now--with marriages and grandkids--there are 20 of us...and more on the way.  

We have a new and amazing Pope, we are so excited that we will be bringing two pilgrimage groups to Rome to see him this year. The first one filled so fast that we had to open a second in October just before the St. Paul Pilgrimage Cruise.

We are always trying to stay on top of technology. We just launched a brand new pilgrimage website and webstore this spring. To celebrate we are giving away a free MP3 of my pentecost talk. Look for the coupon code in the right column.
God Bless Your Pentecost,
Steve Ray 
Mary and the other Body of Christ:
A Pentecost Story

The room was filled. People were sitting along the walls and not much room was left for walking around. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing--that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared. They had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal. 


They were also anxious about the promise--the coming of the Spirit. The only thing they knew about God descending in fire was the experience of their ancestors at Mount Sinai. When that happened they all ran and hid and said to Moses, "Never let God speak to us again; you go talk with Him and come back and tell us what the said."


The people huddled in the Upper Room knew that Pentecost was approaching. Pentecost means "the 50th day." Fiftieth day from what? From the Passover. Almost fifty days ago the Passover lambs had been slain. The ultimate Passover Lamb had been nailed to a cross. 


Then there was the forty days of mystery when Jesus was gone but not gone, with them but not with them, at least not like before. He kept just appearing and then disappearing.


He taught them a lot in those forty days, He had breathed on them, given them power to forgive and retain sins, fed them loaves and fish, appointed Peter as his shepherd, commanded them to go out from Jerusalem to the world. He had explained to them much about the Kingdom of God and their tasks as His emissaries. 


The last meeting was the most unusual of all. He answered a few questions, gave a few instructions and then, without even a formal good-bye, He started going up--and continued going up until all they saw was the bottom of his sandals as he disappeared into a cloud. Daniel 7:13-14 says he went back to the glory of heaven.


Now they looked at each other with obvious concern on their faces--they were fearful. They locked themselves in the Upper Room to pray as Jesus had commanded. They were praying for what they feared--fire. They prayed for nine days, the first Novena, before the promise of the Holy Spirit fell.


We are specifically told that there were about 120 people in the room. Actually the Greek word is "names" not people. How strange. Can you imagine me saying, "About 120 names came on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land"? This made me curious so I looked up 120 in early Jewish literature and law. Sure enough, my research paid off. 


In Israel, if a group of Jews desiring to leave the big city and start their own new community, they needed a minimum of 120 names on a list. What was happening here in the Upper Room? A new community was being started. The word "church" in the New Testament is ecclesia which means "a group of people called out." Even today the Knessett (lawmaking body in Israel) is made up of 120 representatives.


Mary is listed among the believers in that Upper Room. It was important that she counted among the others. She is the mother of Jesus. She gave birth to him in Bethlehem and was, in a sense, giving birth to him, His mystical body, again on Pentecost. 


What is our affectionate term for Pentecost? Can you sing "Happy Birthday, to you..."? Yes, it is the Birthday of the Church. 

Continued below...

All of us are called to be evangalists! 

Apologetics can be tricky. In order to do it well, you must have a firm knowledge of two things: the Bible and the Catholic Faith AND the arguments against Catholicism.   

Logos' Verbum will work seamlessly across your devices: desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone - or any other smartphone or mobile devices. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas would be astounded. They could have never dreamed of such power to study scripture and other texts. CLICK HERE to learn more..  
...continued from above

What is being born? The Mystical Body of Christ. Who is there for the birth? The mother of course. Mothers participate in the birth of their children. Mary is the mother of Jesus the God-Man and Mary is the Mother of the Church, the Body of Christ. She was necessarily present at both births.


Mary was also there because the others were afraid of God descending in fire. I am convinced they trembled in fear not only because of the Jews and Romans outside, but of the promised "baptism of fire" within-as they wondered and feared what that might be. The gentle breeze was about to become a rushing wind.


But Mary was there to calm their anxieties. I bet she said something like, "Don't be afraid my friends, the Holy Spirit has already overshadowed me and He was pure love. Just wait until you are bathed in His love!" 


After nine days of praying the Holy Spirit fell in fire on the tenth day--which was the 50th day from the death of the Passover Lamb Jesus on the cross. The Jewish festival of Pentecost also celebrated the First Fruits of the harvest. 


Remember, Jesus said he was like a grain of wheat that would be buried in the ground. The grain must be buried and die to bear its fruit. Jesus died, was buried in the ground and rose from the dead as the first fruit. 


 Now on the "Feast of First Fruits" the first of the harvest is presented to God. We learn that 3,000 people were added to the Church that day--all in keeping with the tremendous symbolism and deeper meaning to all these events. 


And with these deep mysteries and truths we are just scratching the surface. Come to the Holy Land with us, get out your Bibles and study books (or Verbum Catholic Bible Study software) and dig deeper. "There is gold in them there hills" for those with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts and minds to learn.

Side Column Highlights   
- 59 sec. St. Paul Cruise Video
- Free MP3 Audio Download 
- Featured Pilgrimages
- Steve's Speaking Events 
- Fun Riddles and Jokes  
- Virtual Walk around Jerusalem 

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Click on the image below to walk
with me around Jerusalem on an interactive map with pics & video.


Three times I have been divided

doing what God had decided.

Twice a garment was the tool

that led me to obey God's rule.

I was the threshold of new things

and the limit of many kings.

Once God's son I did embrace.

Once the ark stood in my place.

Never have I walked the ground,

nor in the heavens was I found.
What am I? 


What has four stander-uppers, four puller-downers, two hookers, two lookers, and a swishy-wishy?

Click Here for the Answers 

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