Newsletter March 2014, No. 37
Dear Friends of the Magdala Center:
Warmest regards and wishes. Please excuse the delay in sending this newsletter. On December 23rd, I was called to participate in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ during January and February in Rome. These two months were filled with God’s graces, which required exclusive dedication to my responsibilities as part of the General Chapter; it was a time of many blessings.
It was a very providential time for Magdala as well, and allowed for a meeting with the organizers of Pope Francis’ trip to the Holy Land. You can read more about this meeting below.
This has been an intense period, full of work and big challenges. Among other things, Magdala and the Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem have participated in international tourism fairs in Madrid, Boston, Tel Aviv, and Moscow, and are beginning to receive recognition from promoters and organizers of pilgrimages and religious tourism trips. The result has been wonderful; during January and February we have had an average of 500 visitors a day at Magdala.
Pilgrimage Group of Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary hearing an explanation of the chapels in Duc in Altum
Now for the most important: News and an Invitation.
As mentioned in previous messages we hoped for and asked God that Pope Francis would give a special blessing to the Magdala Center on his visit to the Holy Land. Our biggest dream was that he would visit Magdala and inaugurate and bless the center. After a long wait and a good dose of realism, we realized that the Pope will visit Jerusalem but NOT Galilee, and for this reason it will be impossible for him to visit Magdala. Nonetheless, he is able to meet with us, which we will be forever thankful for, on Monday, May 26 at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. He will eat lunch along with his delegation, and in a brief and private ceremony in Notre Dame’s Chapel, he will BLESS THE TABERNACLE OF MAGDALA.
Magdala´s Boat Altar and Tabernacle
Our friends’ participation will be only spiritual, as the full agenda and security details do not permit more. We can’t complain, though. It has been a huge privilege that, on the only day the Pope is in Jerusalem, he has decided to give us this gift. For Christians, it couldn’t be a better gift when we recall Jesus at the Sea of Galilee asking Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep!
Thank you, Holy Father! We are eager for your visit to Jerusalem as a messenger of Peace and bringer of blessings from heaven!
DEDICATION OF THE CHURCH AT MAGDALA
In an effort to unite the dedication of the church at Magdala with the Pope’s visit as much as possible, the dedication of the Magdala Spiritual Center’s church “Duc In Altum” will take place on Wednesday, May 28 at 17:00 p.m. It will be presided by His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
At 15:00 p.m., the dedication of the church will be preceded by the inauguration of the Archaeological Park at Magdala, with the presence of local authorities.
You can only imagine the happiness we experience in anticipation of this great moment that we have been waiting for: the moment in which a HOLY SITE will be opened again after many centuries, the hometown of Mary Magdalene. This is a ‘must’ stop in the itineraries of Holy Land pilgrims.
The pictures will speak for themselves. The Spirituality Center is finished and receiving numerous pilgrims each day. Soon it will be “dedicated” for prayer and celebrations, with God’s blessing.
Posterior of the Spirituality Center almost finished.
Many visitors have sensed a spiritual gift here that has helped them understand or become more open to the Gospels and Jesus’ gifts of grace. We hope that this increases over time.
Pilgrimage Group of Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary contemplating the art in the main cupola.
Pilgrimage Group of Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary during the first Holy Hour at Magdala.
In order to participate in such a grand event as the dedication of Magdala, you will have to come on pilgrimage. Given the magnitude of this event and the practical implications it entails, we suggest that you organize groups through travel agents in order to be able to attend.
The following are suggestions of events that we have planned for the days before and after the dedication, in order for you to include them in your pilgrimage plans:
As a preparation for the Dedication of the church at Magdala, on Tuesday, May 27 at 11:00 a.m. we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
Wednesday, May 28 at 15:00 and 17:00 p.m. respectively: the civil inauguration of the Archaeological Park and Dedication of Magdala’s church “Duc In Altum.” After the dedication of the church, a reception will be held on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Thursday, May 29: All day guided visits of Magdala. A schedule of tours in different languages will be published. Masses may possibly be organized by language as well.
Friday, May 30: Mass in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, May 31: Mass in the Basilica of Gethsemane, 11:00 a.m.
To organize your trip, we suggest the following agencies that have prepared packages for the dedication. Please, feel free to make your own plans or go through other agencies as well.
New Gate Tours.
Contact: Isabel Mazarrasa
Telephone: +34 610102692+34 610102692
FUNDACIÓN TIERRA SANTA
New Gate Tours Italy
Contact: Patrizia Barattelli
Link to Magdala Inauguration:
A webpage has been created in order to PROVIDE INFORMATION about participating in the event:
While we cannot do the job of a travel agent, we will be happy to support your participation in the event and provide any information you need. We thank you in advance for letting us know if you have a group that will participate, how many people are in your group, and the days you plan on staying, in order to better serve you and organize the event.
We apologize in advance for any inconveniences we cannot foresee due to the number of participants in the event.
This is the inauguration of the first phase of the Magdala Center. We count on your support and friendship, prayers and donations, to continue building this project.
Once again, looking back at the history of the Magdala Center, you immediately come to mind! Thank you and all who have believed in the project, and those who have supported the project in any and every way. Thank you all, dear friends and donors. At the inauguration there will be a VERY special remembrance of our friends and donors that have passed away. They will be joining us in the event, from heaven.
Affectionately, Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C.
I invite you to share this newsletter with your friends and family, to let them know about the project and to ask them to help us build together.
Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C.