Dear friends and family of Magdala
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many evils and we still don’t see the end of the tunnel… But in the midst of these circumstances, God has allowed many good things. One of them has been the virtual pilgrimage that we have carried out, as we have been able to visit, tour and enjoy the holy places as they have not been seen for decades and as perhaps they will not be seen again during our generation: alone, free and silent, keeping the great mysteries of our faith.
In writing this letter, I emphasize our gratitude to the thousands of people who have wanted to join this pilgrimage. The messages we receive daily from people are overwhelming, because of what God is doing in their hearts and because, among the many things we need at this time, there is one, very important, which is faith, and in this experience God is renewing it for us.
We are deeply moved that “virtual pilgrims” are following our transmissions from every possible and imaginable social angle: we receive testimonies from children, youth, families and elderly people. Providentially, for many people, the Holy Land has been accessible live in an atmosphere of prayer and meditation on the Word of God.
All this confirms what St. Jerome said: the Holy Land is the “fifth gospel”. It helps us to move from “black and white” to 4D in a few days, in our knowledge of the gospel and of our beloved Jesus.
We thank God from the bottom of our hearts for giving us this possibility, despite the many drawbacks of the pandemic. We thank the team of Magdala, now reduced to its historical minimum: Roberto, in the editions and transmissions; Raquel and Adam, the last volunteers who have remained with us (from the 20/25 we used to have), supporting us in the recordings, editions and consultations for the Spanish and English programs, respectively; Paola, consecrated of Regnum Christi, coordinating all the logistic and practical aspect, and who will receive the lifetime ministry of “reader” in the masses; Kathleen, also consecrated who, together with Fr. Eamon Kelly, has guided all the programming in English. Behind the scenes we also have David (who I sense is often helped by his wife Elena) monitoring the social networks, the website, communications and so on; and Felipe, in the office, with the graphics, technology, and problem solving… And from Mexico, the Mass intentions team: Carola, Patricio, her son; Ana and Poli (who, by the way, has just given birth to Lourdes).
And what can we say about the many people who help us from their trenches, now confined to their homes, explaining to so many friends how to connect in the “mysterious” social networks, or solving technology problems not yet mastered. We send a big hug and thanks to the many people who have participated in recording the Ave Marias, sending us suggestions, initiatives, warning us of technical problems and a thousand other favors…
A very special word to the artists who favored us with their music! José Ignacio Martínez, Marcela de María y Campos, Amelia Silva, Rosy Ruesga, Rogelio Casasola, Oswaldo y Arce (Salve), Paty Zapiola y Jésed, Emily Roman, Jell Swallow, Fr. John Klein, as St. Augustine said “he who sings, prays twice”.
I would have to comment on the thousands and thousands of messages that have reached us by all possible means. Really, thank you very much. Thank you for getting involved, for praying for us and with us. It has been a joy to immerse ourselves in the Word of God and in the Holy Land, in the liturgy, and in the lives of so many people who agreed to follow our little “Exodus”, following in the footsteps of Jesus.
One person wrote to us a few days ago, stating that the multiplication of the loaves and fishes was true, for he found it incredible that so few people, with so little time and so limited resources, could have done all this. It is true. God multiplies what is made available to him with joy.
We should add official acknowledgements and thanks to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, the Authority of Parks and Nature Reserves, the Benedictine monks, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the White Fathers of Jerusalem, the Sisters of Sion, the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Pontifical Institute and many other institutions and individuals. Finally, a recognition to the champions of the Holy Land, those who have been here for 803 years, guarding, caring for, protecting our Christian heritage in this blessed land: the Franciscan Fathers, the Custody of the Holy Land. Thank you for your fraternity and your welcome, for your availability and support. Without all of you this pilgrimage/retreat would simply have been impossible.
Finally, thanks to my Legionnaire brothers. Every morning at breakfast, we talked about the liturgy and exchanged ideas about the day’s preaching, about the topics to be shared and commented on. Thank you for your support and your patience in this rather busy month.
“Benedicta sit Sancta Trinitas! The Magdala Media Center has now truly been born and the Magdala Family has been projected internationally, two essential elements of this project of God, which were foreseen coming from day one. Blessed be God!
Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C.