Pope Francis invited to visit the United Arab Emirates

On June 5, 2018 Pope Francis received Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the U.A.E., who was on an official visit to the State of Vatican City, during which he handed over a message from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, inviting Pope Francis to visit the UAE.and was invited to pay a visit to the United Arab Emirates

No date has been announced, but we assume that he will accept the invitation and visit in the not too far distant future.

The U.A.E., a federal union made up of seven states,  has about 10% Catholic population (mostly foreign workers), established full diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 2007.

There are several major Catholic churches in the U.A.E.

Source:  IPS News

Fr. Leo Patalinghug leads a Holy Land tour with a culinary twist

We want everyone to know about this unique opportunity to travel with Fr. Leo Patalinghug as he journeys to the Holy Land and Jordan.  Many of you may know or have seen Fr. Leo on EWTN where he hosts “Grace before meals“.

Learn more about this magnificent part of the world where Jesus walked, preached, was crucified and rose from the dead. You will visit all the holy places:  Bethlehem, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Mt. of Olives (just to name a few)…..and even cross over to Jordan (“the other Holy Land”), the place where Jesus was actually baptized, visit the world famous site of Petra, and the capital city of Amman.

Father Leo will celebrate Mass daily with your group and lead you on some great culinary adventures as well!  You will dine with the locals…and even be involved in the cooking!  You will truly immerse yourself in the Holy Land experience.

You will enjoy dining with locals
You will enjoy dining with locals

Picture dining in the highly regarded Magdalena Restaurant  along the Sea of Galilee; have lunch  at the famous Bedouin Tent Restaurant in Bethlehem with a food presentation by Fr. Leo and Tent’s chefs including local bread and za’atar (great for dunking bread);  dine in the homes of local Christian families of Bethlehem for “Sharing the Bread” home-cooked meals.

You will visit the local chapter of the ‘Slow Food’ network for a cooking class: Bait al Karama is the first female-run cooking school in Palestine, run and managed by disadvantaged women living in the Old City of Nablus. Observe a local chef prepare some classic Palestinian dishes. Enjoy your creations over lunch and discover what life is like for women in this small Palestinian town.

As an expression of our solidarity with the local Christian population, the group will shop in Bethlehem to help support the local Christian families and visit the Crimson Winery, operated by the Salesian Community, where you will enjoy a wine tasting.

In Jordan you will dine at the famous Tawaheen al-Hawa restaurant in Amman;  visit the Beit Sitti cooking school, known as one of the most innovative developments in Jordan’s dining scene. You will get to cook (and eat) an authentic meal under supervision.

Then, the question we get all the time:  is it safe to travel to the Holy Land?  Yes it is probably safer here than anywhere.  Last year saw a record number of visitors to Israel….and all of them returned safely.  Check this blog article about safety in the Holy Land.

We discovered this unique pilgrimage a bit late (it take place June 17-28), but there are few spaces left.  Don’t miss out…..see this exciting itinerary and sign up at Select International Tours.

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Want to help the Christians in the Holy Land?

Select to Give is a not for profit foundation, founded by Select International Tours.

Select is an award winning, thirty year old, faith based tour operator specializing in group trips to Europe, the Holy Land, Canada, Mexico, South America and the USA.

The Faith Travel Association awarded the “Impact Award” to Select International Tours for innovation and quality in travel.

Select to Give Foundation exists to help the Christians of the Holy Land and the Middle East!  Through the funding and creation of programs and partnerships, we support innovative community efforts to help Christians achieve a safer and more prosperous existence.

Palestinian Christian children in the Holy Land
Palestinian Christian children in the Holy Land

Their organization’s goal is to recognize and maximize human potential in Christian communities by offering assistance in establishing programs that provide opportunities for education, entrepreneurship, social justice and community building.

For more information check out their website.

Exciting News from Rhoda Wise Home & Grotto

One of the modern day mystics we do not hear enough about is Servant of God Rhoda Wise.  Her story is amazing (including an early encounter with a young girl who was healed after visiting here and  would later become Mother Angelica).

As her path to Sainthood continues, we want to update you on some of the improvements being made to her home & Grotto in Canton, Ohio, which is now a shrine.

Because of a generous donor, they have been able to purchase the three city parcels between the Rhoda Wise property and First Tee.

If you have visited there, perhaps you remember the blue house and garage on that property.  Thanks to a second generous donor they were able to demolish both buildings.   They will use the extra space for additional parking this year.  Thank you, generous donors!!!

SAVE THE DATE!  July 7, 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Rhoda Wise.   There will be a 10:00 am Mass at St. Peter’s in Canton, an update on the Cause, and more.  Possibly much more!!!

Watch rhodawise.com for updates especially as July 7th approaches.  Be sure to sign up for EMAIL NEWS on the website so you won’t be out of the loop.  News will be posted on their Facebook page RHODAWISEHOME as well.

Servant of God, Rhoda Wise, pray for us!!!

It happened again!

Well it happened again:  Every so often we get an email like this one that we just received:

“Hi there
Are the Holy land tours still operating?

The news reports and government travel sites are warning people not to travel there.”

Here is a reply to that question from Edita, president of Select International Tours:

Edita, owner of Select International Tours, standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee
Edita, president of Select International Tours, standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee

 

” I am in Holy Land now with a group from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of 87 people.

We have over 40 groups traveling this year.

It’s safer than streets of any major US city.”

Thank you, Edita

This has been going on for many, many years….and as you can see by the reply above, you are probably safer in the Holy Land  than most countries in the world.

 

It saddens us when we think of how many people have been robbed of the joy of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land because of media reports, government travel advisories….or just well-meaning friends and relatives.
In fact, the number of visitors in 2017 increased to a record number…over 3 1/2 million visitors.
So we encourage you to find out for yourself….ignore the doubters and scare-mongers.  Go to the Holy Land!

 

New Retreat Centers coming to the U.S.A.

In this era it is very hard to avoid the noise and distractions of everyday life.  Cell phones, 24 hours a day media, and just getting by can leave us feeling empty….whether single, married raising a family, or “empty-nesters” we all need to re-charge our spiritual batteries.  And getting away from all the noise can be a great way to do that.

There are many opportunities for retreats in most countries, including the U.S.  Now there are three more retreat centers, all run by Communities of Prayer, a non-profit organization.

Their story is a great one, and we encourage you to read it here.

Theology of Beauty Pilgrimage to Italy through Faith, Fashion & Food with Father Leo Patalinghug and Leah Darrow

 

July 7-16, 2018 (with optional extension to Rome July 16-20)

You might call this a Catholic pilgrimage for foodies and fashion buffs.  You will see Milan, the “Fashion Capital of the World” see the original painting of the Last Supper, travel to Turin, then Bologna (some of the best food in all of Italy), enjoy a cooking lesson (you will eat what you cook!), on to Verona, ending in Venice ( a full day in Venice) and much more.

With Mass every day and inspiring talks, this will be one of the best experiences of your life.

For those who wish, there is an optional extension to Rome:  the group will travel by train from Venice to Rome where they will spend three days in “The Eternal City” visiting Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Mary Major, attend the weekly Papal Audience, Tre Fontane and more.

Father Leo Patalinghug, host of "Grace before Meals"
Father Leo Patalinghug, host of “Grace before Meals”

 

Your group leaders:

                    Fr. Leo Patalinghug

TV Show Host on EWTN
Author of “Epic Food Fight”
Host of GraceBeforeMeals.com

 

                  Leah Darrow

Leah DarrowAuthor of “The Other side of Beauty”

LeahDarrow.com

 

 

We expect this trip to sell out quickly.  You can get a $100 discount when you register….be sure to mention code CTguideClick here for all the details of this exciting pilgrimage.

 

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