Fr. Juan Solana, L.C. – Director
Born in Puebla, Mexico, Father Solana has spent the majority of his life in the service of the Lord and his church.
From 1986-2000, Father Solana served primarily in Italy where he taught philosophy and theology. For seven years during that period (1993-2000), he also served as the Director of Novices at Novara, Northern Italy. Prior to his arrival in Jerusalem, Father Solana spent four years in the United States with Legion of Christ communities in New York and Connecticut.
In 2004, Father Solana was appointed by Pope John Paul II to be Chargé of the Holy See for the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. He has been serving in that role ever since.
Father Solana initiated the Magdala project in 2005 and continues to direct its development. From the beginning his idea for Magdala was to highlight the ministry of Jesus as He engaged people and transformed their lives. He also saw Magdala as an opportunity to honor women of faith. The site is designed to be a place for prayer, worship, learning, meditation, and spiritual growth. Additionally the guesthouse and restaurant in Magdala will offer services in Galilee similar to the services provided at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
Father Solana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology (ThB) from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, as well as a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL), and Licentiate in Philosophy (PhL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He speaks Spanish, Italian, and English, as well as classic Latin and Greek.
Fr. Eamon Kelly, L.C. – Vice Director
Father Eamon Kelly from County Clare, Ireland, joined the Congregation of the Legion of Christ’s Dublin Novitiate in 1974. After humanity studies in Salamanca, Spain, he earned a degree in Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a degree in Theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, both in Rome.
Father Kelly directed youth ministry in the Greater Detroit area from 1979 to 1983, and developed his community’s public relations outreach in North America. Father Kelly was ordained a priest in 1987. From 1989 – 1999 he founded Legionaries of Christ communities in Germany, Austria, and Hungary.
From 2000 through 2007 Father Kelly served in various ministerial positions that include leading business leader retreats and providing personal coaching in New York and serving as Chaplain at Northern Kentucky University.
In 2007, the Vatican Secretary of State assigned this avid hiker, multi-linguist, personal spiritual coach, and international speaker on the Shroud of Turin and Holy Land archeology to Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center as the Vice Chargé of the Pontifical Institute, where he served until late 2017.