Holy Land Pilgrimage

Above: 33 pilgrims came together to join Tim and Fr Terry Staples outside the Church of the Annunciation.

I just got back from the Holy Land with Tim Staples and, I have to say, it was one of the most moving experiences in my life. To be able to touch the very spots that Jesus walked was amazing. We partnered with Harvest Journeys, who designed a genius itinerary following the footsteps of Christ in almost perfect chronological order. All 33 pilgrims were very appreciative of this format. Great friendships were made and even conversions.

Above: The Church of the Nativity with Charbel touching the spot where the crib was held and then touching the spot where Jesus was born.

Our pilgrimage began in the town of Bethlehem. We first made a stop at the Church of the Visitation where we were able to see the area that Mary would have visited her cousin Elizabeth. We then went down the road to see the church built over the house where St John the Baptist was born. From there we were able to go to the church of the Nativity where Jesus was born. This was a highlight, to touch the very spot we believe that the saviour of the world was born. Later that day we celebrated Mass in a cave that was similar to the one in which Jesus was born.

Above: The western wall and the Dome of the Rock in the location of the old Temple

After a pretty emotional day in Bethlehem, we made our way to the town of Nazareth, where Jesus was raised. We started our second day at the church of the Annunciation. This was another very special place, understood to be the place at which the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and the original stone can be still seen. There is a large church built all around, but you can see directly to the spot where there is now an altar and small chapel in that room. On day two we also visited the house in which St Joseph grew up, which was very special.

Above: Charbel with Tim and Fr Terry Staples along with Phil Ryal from Harvest

We then spent a few days following the public life of Christ. We started at the site of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan, where we renewed our own baptismal promises. We then went to Temptation Mountain, where Jesus fasted for forty days. Later we travelled to the sea of Galilee where Jesus walked on water and spent time with his disciples. A very peaceful place.

Above Left: Tim at the Ascension chapel. Middle: The stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa. Right: The upper room from the Last Supper and Pentecost.

We also walked some of the trail that we believe Jesus would have walked between Nazareth and Galilee. We witnessed the glorious sunrise that morning, with the shining sun over the water of the sea of Galilee. A very moving and special part of the trip. We spent time in Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus gave the keys to Peter – another very special place. We continued to the town of Capernaum, where Jesus spent much of His public ministry. The Transfiguration Mountain was very special. We attended Mass there with an amazing view of the lands below. We visited the spot where Jesus fed the 5000 people and made visits to the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and Our Lady of Mt Carmel, where we had people enrolled in the scapula.

Above: Fr Terry Staples celebrates Mass in the tomb of Christ.

Our final stop was in the city of Jerusalem, where there is so much to see. We saw the place where Jesus rode on a donkey on Palm Sunday and we visited the garden of Gethsemane, where we touched the spot that Jesus sweated blood. The Stations of the Cross were very special too, leading up to the church of the Holy Sepulchre. In this church, we saw both the spot where Jesus was crucified and also the tomb where His body was laid. We had the privilege of having Mass inside that tomb. This was by far the highlight of the trip. You were all offered up in prayer throughout this pilgrimage. Thanks to Harvest and Catholic Answers for making this trip happen. Looking forward to many more to come, including one right upon us with John Pridmore and Kevin Bailey, also in the Holy Land. I strongly recommend you plan a pilgrimage, if you can.

Above: Charbel with Fr Terry & Tim Staples on the final night overlooking Jerusalem

Quick Stop Over in Singapore

I was able to stop over in Singapore on my way back to Sydney from the Holy Land. It was great to catch up with the founder of Noah’s Ark Books, Geraldine, and the current owners and directors Linus and Anne Marie Koh. They also run another media ministry called St Max Media. It is great to collaborate with other apostolates around the world and, in this particular partnership, we will try to help serve as many souls in the Asia-Pacific region as possible, through media, physical books and good solid Catholic resources. Watch this space as we try to expand our collaborative efforts together.

Above: The team at St Max Media and Noah’s Ark in Singapore

Parousia Podcast’s This Month

There have been some very exciting and also very powerful interviews this month on the Parousia Podcast. I got to sit down in the studio with Fr John Flader to discuss his book ‘Dying to Live‘, which was a very interesting and informative interview. I also had a chance to sit down with Joanna Dimitty, who shared her moving story of how she was able to forgive a priest who took advantage of her many years ago. More on this later. Another show was with our good friend Immaculee talking about Our Lady of Sorrows and of course another episode of ‘Speakin’ with Deacon‘, hosted by Mark Griffin. The topic this time was ‘10 tips to a Divorce Proof Marriage‘.

Canberra Book Launch!

This month, we had a book launch in Canberra. As mentioned earlier I had the privilege to interview Joanna Dimitty for our podcast. We have now launched her brand new book called ‘As We Forgive Those’, a very powerful story of how she was able to forgive a priest who abused her over 40 years ago. Fr Ken Barker from the MGL order wrote the foreword and Parousia has published this. There will be a Sydney Launch as well this month so look out for this amazing book on our website.

Above: In Canberra with Fr Ken Barker and Joanna Dimitty for the Book Launch

As you can see, it is another busy month at Parousia and there are no signs of slowing down! We are gearing up for the return of our two favourites in Tim Staples and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers for the ‘Be Not Afraid‘ tour, from October 6th-12th, 2022. All details are on our site. Please check that out. Hope you can make it!

May God Bless you all.

Charbel Raish – Director


The New Apologetics – Edited by Matthew Nelson (Paperback)

In recent years, “apologetics” has gotten a bad rap, being falsely conflated with “arguing about religion,” in the worst sense of the phrase. But for Christians, apologetics, or giving a reasoned explanation or defense of the faith, is a necessity and duty.

In fact, the cultural moment in which we find ourselves today demands, possibly more than any other time in history, a New Apologetics—a potent and spirited renewal of apologetics suited to today’s world.

This groundbreaking collection is a bold first step toward making this renewal a reality. Featuring over forty essays from many of today’s leading Catholic apologists, theologians, and philosophers, The New Apologetics charts a new course for the future of apologetics: a smart, joyful, and beautiful defense of the faith, one that appeals to both the head and the heart.

Bible in a Year Companion, Volume 3 (Paperback)

The Bible in a Year Companion guide takes Catholics through the award-winning Bible in a Year podcast with summaries, transcripts of Fr. Mike’s daily prayers, and extra content for each episode. It’s the perfect way to remember what you’re hearing, as well as learn even more about each part of Scripture!

The Companion presents daily content for each episode of the podcast.

In addition to the daily content, each time period will have a Time Period Introduction and Review. Written by Jeff Cavins, these will help Catholics to know what to look for in the days ahead, and to recall what has happened in the days completed.

Beads for Battle

– Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers (CD)

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers discusses the power and symbolism of the Rosary for each of our lives. He gives a personal testimony of his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the value of family prayer, especially the recitation of the Rosary.

As We Forgive Those: Forgiveness and Healing From Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church with Poetry and Meditation

– Joanna Dimitty (Paperback)

“This has been a seven-year journey for me from revelation to forgiveness and healing, and finally, an apology from the diocesan bishop. I endeavour to answer the often-asked question, how can I be a practicing Catholic when it was a Catholic priest that abused me? I invite you to journey with me from betrayal and shame to forgiveness and healing”. (From the Author)

Meeting Jesus in the Truth & Beauty of the Catholic Faith

– Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers (Parousia On Demand)

Catholic speaker Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers will answer the question asked by so many fallen-away Catholics and the “Nones”: “Why should I listen to a Church that makes all of these rules that inhibit my freedom to do what I want?” Deacon Harold will explore what it means to have a loving and life-giving relationship with God, and how a proper understanding of the faith prepares the hearts of those who have left the faith to finally come home.

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