I would like to share with you one of the first “insider” experiences I had with Magdala.
When I visited Magdala for the first time it was the site of the abandoned “Hawaii Beach” resort. Yet, as I was standing there, I was fascinated. It seemed to me the ideal site to implement the project that by then was taking shape in my imagination.
Suddenly, a fearful question came over me, “How and with what would I achieve this?” I told myself, “I have no money and I´ve never done anything like this before.” I could not even imagine how much it would cost.
Just as suddenly as this question had popped in my mind — a consoling and clear answer immediately arrived. I thought, “Who has paid for the thousands of cathedrals, churches, missions, seminaries, schools, and the many, many works which are done around the world in the name of God? PROVIDENCE.” I thought with great consolation and serene realism: “God has His means, He moves hearts, and He can prepare the people that will make this project a reality.” I had confidence in God…
A few months earlier a very good friend had introduced me to Mr. Antonino Fernández. I did not know him, nor had I even heard of him. Yet when I had the opportunity to visit him and present the project it was to my surprise and joy he accepted the opportunity to become involved.
In those few minutes he gave us such generous support that without him, Magdala would have stayed a dream. God was preparing him; It was God who spoke in his heart.
Sometime after our initial meeting, as we developed a deeper relationship, he told me, “The first time you visited me and presented the project of Magdala… something told me you have to help this priest… you have to help this priest.”
On his 90th birthday, Antonino confessed to me that, “what he had donated to Magdala was the best investment he had made in his life.”
Mr. Antonino Fernández died August 31, 2016. I consider it an enormous grace to be able to have participated in his funeral and to say goodbye to this great, humble and modest man, to whom Magdala owes its life. I loved him as a father.
The “ball” is now in our court — yours and mine. Do you not want to follow this example of generosity? Do you not feel in your heart that the Lord is calling you to support this project that is doing so much in the hearts and lives of thousands of people? Would you not like your sons, daughters, grandchildren to find joy and be proud that you placed a legacy in the Land of the Bible — the land of Israel — the land of Jesus?
Magdala is now in a very important phase. We would like to open at least one part of the pilgrim´s guesthouse by October 2017. It is a demanding goal, which we can only accomplish with God´s Providence, and your generosity, as the example of Antonino is replicated in your heart.
Remember, there are no small donations. Every penny helps us! Every gift is important!
We want to complete this new phase in the development of Magdala! Some of us put in our work, our volunteers offer their availability, others can provide their financial means, so that all this is possible.
As I think one more time of the person and example of Mr. Antonino Fernandéz, I ask all of you to pray for him so that God welcomes him in His Glory. We ask that even from heaven he would intercede for this work, which without him would have never seen the light of day.
Thank you Antonino! Thank you to all our friends, volunteers and donors!
We remember you with much care and thankfulness.
Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C.