I hope that my first message in this New Year, 2023, gives you a great sense of hope. Every day is a gift from God. At the beginning of each year, we have to fix our eyes on the heavens and thank God for the gift of our life, of each sunrise, of nature around us, of our community and for the gift of His grace. Let’s live this year, 2023, supported by the moral, spiritual, and religious values we hold dear, and above all, through our common prayer which stains us with the strength of Heaven.
The end of 2022 has been bittersweet, with the passing of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. These days, the news and social networks are filled with photos, videos, and documentaries about his life and works. We here at Magdala, are also filled with gratitude to Pope Benedict, who blessed Magdala’s cornerstone on May 10, 2009, in the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem. This was such a beautiful expression of God’s Providence! The Legionaries of Christ owe so much to our late Pontiff. That’s why I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our profound awe and gratitude to him. Now we count on having him in heaven, in the Holy Presence of God, interceding for us and the whole world.
Having had the tremendous opportunity to meet him in person, is profound treasure for me. That day he was so humble, cordial, and caring during his intense meetings, which had such huge importance politically, culturally and religiously. Thank you, Holy Father! May God reward your humble wisdom and genuine greatness!
Dear Magdala Family, get ready! We are almost at the beginning of our Lenten Virtual Pilgrimage, “Exodus: Pilgrimage of Freedom.” I confess that Moses is a figure that amazes me. He has always amazed me. But now that I have had to put such deep thought into preparing this pilgrimage, I continue to like him more and more! My prayer is that God will ensure the experience we are about to live will get us closer to the Holy Mountain, which is no longer a material Sinai but instead it’s one of knowing God’s loyalty and love. On this occasion, we will inaugurate a new YouTube channel featuring exclusive English content. This way, our content in Spanish and English will be more robust and completely independent of each other.
I finish this letter with news from the Christian Community in The Holy Land. I was taken by surprised when I read how many Christians there are in the Holy Land: 185,000; 1.9% of the population. I remember that at the beginning of the Magdala Project, God put the desire on my heart to help this small portion of his people: I could see in this future project a deeper reason for the toil and the effort of the project. Now we gladly see that we have accomplished this task by supporting it in many ways. Not only have we supported this Community but also the coexistence and fraternity between all of the different ethnicities and religions in this country of such great diversity. I want to thank all those who have supported and continued helping us to accomplish this dream; I also want you to keep supporting us because we still have lots of specific projects to complete.
I wrote you a longer message than I usually do. With a heartfelt embrace to each of you, we remain united in prayers.
Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C. and the Magdala team.