"in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort"

-Isaiah 66:13

Pilgrimage is "a sign of closeness and solidarity for the Christian communities that live there and that are in great need of your help."

-Pope John Paul II

"All pilgrimages are entrusted to Saint Joseph our Patron Saint of Pilgrimages. He who led and protected the Holy Family on earth will now do the same for us pilgrims from his place in Heaven."

-Franciscan Father
Alex Kratz,
Pilgrimage Spiritual Director

About Father Alex Kratz

Fr. Alex

Father Alex Kratz, O.F.M., is a Franciscan priest in residence at Duns Scotus Friary, housed in the former convent across the street from Our Lady of La Salette Parish in Berkley, Michigan.  Born and raised in Cincinnati to an Italian mother and American father, he learned Italian as his first language and was accustomed to traveling every summer to Italy to visit relatives.  This experience gave him a global orientation as well as a love for travel and different cultures. 

Fr. Alex also grew up with a passion for playing soccer.  He became a walk-on starter for the University of Notre Dame varsity team where he earned his B.A. in Theology.  Meanwhile he had been discerning a call to become a Franciscan and joined the Order in 1992 upon graduation. 

Halfway through his college education, Fr. Alex received a call to the priesthood.  In 1995 he moved to Chicago to earn a Master of Divinity Degree (with a concentration in Sacred Scripture) from Catholic Theological Union which he completed in 1999.  As part of this program he spent over two months studying Scripture in the Holy Land.  Stationed in the Palestinian town of Bethany, a place where Jesus often visited, proved to be an eye-opening experience as father discovered the presence of the native Christians of the Holy Land—the Palestinian Christians.  Here, he began to discern a bridge-building vocation to help support the Christians and the Church of the Holy Land.  The words from Isaiah, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem” (40:1-2) where given to him and stayed with him until he was able to return. 

In the summer of 1999 Fr. Alex was assigned to St. Michael Parish (now Transfiguration Parish) in Southfield, Michigan.  Later that year in November, he was ordained a priest and served for almost 4 years as Associate Pastor there. 

Fr. Alex volunteered his time with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) working to help the Holy Land as a Christian Solidarity Coordinator.  In his final year as parochial vicar, Fr. Alex was hired by the Archdiocese of Detroit to fulfill Cardinal Maida’s pledge to sponsor 1,000 children in the schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem under the auspices of HCEF. 

Subsequently, Fr. Alex spent a year (2003-2004) in a Catholic parish in the West Bank (in the Holy Land) living among Palestinian Christians to learn ways Western Christians could better support the Mother Church of Jerusalem.  Much of his time was spent learning Arabic and studying the history, culture and geography of the region.  As a Franciscan friar, Fr. Alex also developed contacts among the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land—the official custodians of the Holy Places for the Catholic Church.  While in the Holy Land father was asked to be chaplain for two pilgrimages and it was through this experience that he discovered a love and a call to serve as a pilgrimage spiritual director. 

It was this foundational experience that inspired him to co-found Terra Sancta Pilgrimages in 2008 to provide direct and personalized “solidarity support” to the Church of Jerusalem.  Fr. Alex has also heard the call from God to respond to the late Pope John Paul II’s summons to promote the New Evangelization.  From 2006-2009 and beginning again in 2012, he joined the Evangelization Team of the Archdiocese of Detroit.  He serves as a Regional Evangelization Coordinator.  Father provides weekend sacramental assistance at St. Colette Parish in Livonia, Michigan, is spiritual assistant for two Secular Franciscan fraternities, leads Emmanuel Healing Ministry, and engages in various forms of ministry of the word.  Fr. Alex enjoys reading, history, World Cup soccer, and Notre Dame football.

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