Dear Friends and Magdala Family!
Scripture says: The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, Job 1:21.
Following our recent September Newsletter, I returned to the Holy Land with high spirits since we were entering pilgrimage high-season and, we had forged some demanding plans and great desires to reach new goals. Blessed be the name of the Lord! He is the Lord of life and history, not us.
Everything collapsed on October 7th when a terrorist group committed unprecedented violence against the civilian population in the south of Israel. We are all familiar with the news. We want to join the voices of all who unconditionally condemned such perverse and inhuman crimes. Similarly, we cry out with those who clamor for justice, peace, and reconciliation.
In a matter of hours, our plans fell apart, but not our faith or our trust. If God allows this, our task is to respond to him, renewing our confidence, humble prayer, and acceptance of these new circumstances, which Providence has permitted. “Why kick against the goad?” Acts 26:14. Better reflect how we should react and what we should do in a time like this.
Our first immediate concern for our pilgrims was how to help them return prematurely and safely to their homes. Then, of course, to assist our volunteers who decided to leave since their work had vanished and the situation loomed precarious. Right away, we decided to dedicate more time to prayer each day, adoration and benediction, the rosary in several languages, besides the usual livestream masses in Spanish and English. You can find our live-streaming schedules here.
We thank you very much for all your messages of support and solidarity, especially for the prayers offered worldwide for our safety and health. We are relatively far from the conflict in Gaza. We are ok. The risk of violent actions in the north looms over us. We trust in God and are grateful for any concrete gestures of material solidarity that people may wish to send us as we face this emergency. Click here to support us with a donation.
We joined Cardinal Pizzaballa’s invitation to dedicate October 17th to prayer, abstinence, and fasting. It was great that Pope Francis extended this invitation to the entire Church. We will also join the new day of prayer requested by the Holy Father for peace on this Friday, October the 27th. Our schedules will remain the same so everyone can join the Pope’s prayer in St. Peter’s Square and conclude the day with him at 18:00 in Rome (19:00 in Israel. Click here to read the Pope’s Message and click here to join the Vatican live streaming channel. For this reason, only on that day, the English Mass will be moved up to half an hour.
The only update I can share during this period is the start of the Podcast “Holy Land: Daily Homilies from Magdala”, which you can find on the main podcast platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and others.
Let us continue to stand together in prayer, our greatest strength. Let us implore the Lord to grant us His peace. With peace, we can gain everything; with war, we can lose everything.
Cordially, Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C. and the Magdala Family.