For those that don’t know “Jerusalem Jones” (I don’t claim to know him, but have met him this weekend, and had brief correspondence with him), Steve Ray is a Catholic Convert, leader of pilgrimages to the Holy Land (more than just a leader-he makes the Bible and biblical figures come alive on site), and producer and “star” of the Footprints of God documentary series. (www.catholicconvert.com) Anyway, I got word less than two weeks ago that he would be in the Bay Area doing several talks-Sacramento, Napa, Concord and San Francisco-about St. Paul, and one on the Eucharist.
I talked my wife into going to two of the talks, even though she’s not a night person. Weekdays are hectic for us with 5 AM wakeup, daily Mass, work, etc. and due to my wife recovering from cancer surgery 14 months ago, I’m very sensitive to her energy level. She hits a wall about 6:00 PM and the energy just drains from her. Weekends are hectic with always some agenda of to-do’s around the house.
On Friday night we drove in the rain about 45 minutes to an unknown area of Napa, and found the site. The venue was small and intimate, I think there were about 100 people or so. After a prayer, Steve came out, talked about his background (Baptist) and conversion, and wove this story with his love for St. Paul, then to the life of St. Paul. He didn’t analyze St. Paul’s writings, he spoke as a man who’s walked in Paul’s footsteps (because he did!), talking about his early life, his trade of tent making, his rise in the Pharasee ranks, his participation in the stoning of St. Stephen, the scene outside of Damascus where Christ converted him, and some about the journeys, trials and tribulations he suffered for Christ. It was so MUCH to pack in to an hour and a half, but I know Steve could have spoken for days on the subject. Before the trek to Napa, my wife asked me why I wanted to hear a talk about St. Paul, but afterwards, we both wanted to learn more. I knew some, but learned at least as much as I knew, and we came away glad for the experience, especially in the intimate setting.
Saturday, we spent the day doing a project in the house, and frankly we were both tired by about 4:00. We had invited our daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids, 15 and 9, and they called and asked if we’d have dinner with them before the talk. Dinner at a chinese restaurant was good, and I was raving about Steve’s talk the night before. Again in the dark to another unknown church (even though it’s in our diocese!). St. Agnes in Concord, CA is a church that has started having perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and Steve was asked to give a talk about the Eucharist, sort of to ‘bless’ the implementation. He took us on a ride through the Bible, refreshing memories about the types of the Eucharist in the Old Covenant and leading into the New Covenant and how the Early Church Fathers spoke of and understood the Eucharist. There was so much, I’m glad I recorded the talk, because I plan to watch it over and over.
We bought three of Steve’s Footprints DVD’s, simply because there’s so much depth in them, I know that I’ll watch them over and over and over, and then use them in Catechetical sessions.
I would like to thank Steve Ray for his work, his words, and his zeal.