Core Culture

As part of the Magdala plan, guiding principles were established to provide clear understanding and consistent focus. These principles provide an inside look at the objectives and depth of commitment of the leadership at Magdala.


Our Core Purpose is to highlight the historical, cultural, and spiritual significance of Magdala – revealing how Jesus engages people and transforms lives.



  • We place our complete trust in God with whom all things are possible (FAITH)
  • We provide a safe and welcoming environment for people of all faiths, denominations, backgrounds, and cultures to visit, stay, learn, and grow (RESPECT)
  • We maintain a spirit of humility and helpfulness to all who come to visit (SERVANT LEADERSHIP)
  • We steward resources effectively while working in collaboration with individuals from various locations, backgrounds, and faith communities (PARTNERSHIP).

Our Core Mission

To offer a first century Galilee experience in a welcoming, twenty-first century environment.

Our Core Vision

To become a premier catalyst for worldwide renewal and reconciliation.

At Magdala

Fr. Juan Solana, L.C. – Director

Born in Puebla, Mexico, Father Solana has spent the majority of his life in the service of the Lord and his church.

From 1986-2000, Father Solana served primarily in Italy where he taught philosophy and theology. For seven years during that period (1993-2000), he also served as the Director of Novices at Novara, Northern Italy. Prior to his arrival in Jerusalem, Father Solana spent four years in the United States with Legion of Christ communities in New York and Connecticut.

In 2004, Father Solana was appointed by Pope John Paul II to be Chargé of the Holy See for the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. He has been serving in that role ever since.

Father Solana initiated the Magdala project in 2005 and continues to direct its development. From the beginning his idea for Magdala was to highlight the ministry of Jesus as He engaged people and transformed their lives. He also saw Magdala as an opportunity to honor women of faith. The site is designed to be a place for prayer, worship, learning, meditation, and spiritual growth. Additionally the guesthouse and restaurant in Magdala will offer services in Galilee similar to the services provided at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.

Father Solana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology (ThB) from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, as well as a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL), and Licentiate in Philosophy (PhL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He speaks Spanish, Italian, and English, as well as classic Latin and Greek.

Fr. Eamon Kelly, L.C. – Vice Director

Father Eamon Kelly from County Clare, Ireland, joined the Congregation of the Legion of Christ’s Dublin Novitiate in 1974. After humanity studies in Salamanca, Spain, he earned a degree in Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a degree in Theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, both in Rome.

Father Kelly directed youth ministry in the Greater Detroit area from 1979 to 1983, and developed his community’s public relations outreach in North America. Father Kelly was ordained a priest in 1987. From 1989 – 1999 he founded Legionaries of Christ communities in Germany, Austria, and Hungary.

From 2000 through 2007 Father Kelly served in various ministerial positions that include leading business leader retreats and providing personal coaching in New York and serving as Chaplain at Northern Kentucky University.

In 2007, the Vatican Secretary of State assigned this avid hiker, multi-linguist, personal spiritual coach, and international speaker on the Shroud of Turin and Holy Land archeology to Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center as the Vice Chargé of the Pontifical Institute, where he served until late 2017.

Fr. Guillermo Garcia, L.C. – Chief Operation Officer

Kathleen Nichols, CRC – Chief Mission Officer

David Delgado – Magdala Family Supervisor

Born in Mexico City and raised in Toronto, Canada from an early age David graduated from the University of Toronto receiving an HBA in International Relations.

While participating in an exchange program David received the opportunity to travel to Israel. The vast history, rich culture, and diverse practice of faiths in the Middle East captured his heart. He fell in love with the Holy Land returning a few months later to Magdala to join Fr. Juan Solana and his team continue developing the site.

David is in charge of leading the coordination and development of marketing and fundraising channels, seeking new opportunities to spread Magdala´s message abroad, through the Magdala Family, and working with his team to ensure the vision of Magdala is brought to life.

David has a MA in Latin American, Iberian and Israeli Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as an Executive Master´s in International Hotel Management from Les Roches Hospitality School.  On his free time David enjoys road cycling and capturing award-winning photographs of the Holy Land through his camera.

Cultural impact

  • Continue developing and excavating the ancient ruins of Magdala for visitors and spiritual reflection
  • Hold seminars and conferences about the site and its historical and religious importance, as well as other topics of similar importance
  • Preserve the beauty and sanctity of the place due to its historical significance
  • Reinforce the significance and dignity of women through The Magdalena Institute
  • Provide an environment where youth can meet and interact

Pastoral and Spiritual Impact 

  • Foster interfaith dialogue among the three monotheistic religions of the Holy Land, as well as dialogue between the diverse Christian denominations
  • Offer new opportunities to hear the Word and preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage
  • Provide places for public worship such as the “Duc In Altum” Spiritual Center
  • Provide staff and opportunities for reconciliation ministry
  • Offer spiritual renewal courses for Bishops, Priests, Seminarians, religious and lay people
  • Provide special programs for young people

Social Impact 

  • Provide job opportunities
  • Offer a good standard and affordable hospitality to pilgrims
  • Serve the local community
  • Increase economic activity in the area to help foster the peace and social understanding

How to Get Involved

Support Magdala and its mission, vision, and values through the Magdala Family! Anyone can join and participate in different ways. The future of Magdala is really exciting but we need your help to make it a reality!


At the shores of the Sea of Galilee this is a crossroads of Jewish and Christian History and the hometown of Mary Magdalene.

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The future of Magdala is really exciting but we need your help to make it a reality!

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Share your memories of Magdala or your support with one of our souvenir products! All purchases benefit the projects on site.

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Experience Magdala in a different way and journey with us as we continue to develop this extraordinary Holy Site.

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