Dear Magdala Family and friends,
I send you warm greetings from Magdala, where we are undergoing a unique time due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. However, amid the conflict, we have come together as a small family and formed a unique community of charity, prayer, and service.
As we shared previously, residents from a Kibbutz near the border with Lebanon have come to live with us in these weeks. They are lovely, educated, and courteous people. We have been together for over a month now. It has been a challenging time, full of uncertainties and concerns. Yet, our coexistence has been cordial, respectful, and marked by a strong sense of solidarity. There are many children and adolescents. The youth are at the forefront of the war; young adults and the elderly care for the little ones, teaching and entertaining them. They have small concerts or entertainment and relaxation activities several times a week. We have grown fond of each other, even though the language barrier often requires us to communicate through friendly and deferential gestures or smiles.
Israel is greatly paralyzed in terms of activities. Therefore, every day, we implore the gift of peace. Personally, I had never experienced such a situation before. We are in God’s hands. We are currently not receiving pilgrims at this time. The holy places are kind of open, kind of closed. In some, a sign at the entrance says that you should call if you want to visit, and they will open it for you. We recently greeted the Patriarch of Jerusalem, newly appointed Cardinal by Pope Francis, for the first time. It was during the feast of Tabgha, commemorating the Multiplication of the loaves and fishes. It was a beautiful gathering with religious and priests from the area, along with some local families. But undoubtedly, there was a unique atmosphere.
We want to invite you to subscribe to our Advent programs. The end of the liturgical year is approaching, marking the beginning of a new adventure within the life of the Church. Soon, we will start Year B in the liturgical calendar—a new and complementary perspective of God’s mystery through the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.
I want to briefly mention North America’s “Thanksgiving Day” celebration on Thursday, November 23: a beautiful holiday, a moment of family reunion, an uplifting of the heart to God. We warmly greet and thank our friends and benefactors from the United States of America and ask God to bless their nation and people. We, too, have much to be thankful for.
I want to share with you that this forced pause has been the occasion to begin preparing for the upcoming virtual Lenten pilgrimage. We are preparing and filming our next pilgrimage of prayer, “Journeying through the Holy Land, Hand in Hand with God.” God willing, with this pilgrimage, we will complete our journey through the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We ask for prayers for this project.
We appreciate every one of you for your closeness, solidarity, affection, and prayers. We felt very accompanied and entrusted. We constantly share that we are grateful for our Magdala family scattered around the world! Thank you for supporting us with your prayers! We hope to see you soon and be able to give you a big hug.
In the meantime, let us continue to pray to God for the gift of peace.
Cordially, Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C. and the Magdala Family.