Christians Assemble At Magdala To Celebrate
The Inaugural Feast Day Of Mary Magdalene.
More than 300 Christians gathered for the very first Feast Day of Mary Magdalene in her hometown of Magdala. The event on July 23 was the first celebration of this Feast Day, declared by Pope Francis just 6 weeks ago. It honors Mary Magdalene as the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection. A solemn mass was presided over by H.E. Mons. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop to the Latin Patriarchate in Israel.
Duc In Altum hosted the mass and ceremony in the Boat Chapel which has an altar depicting a first century boat. During the mass, Marcuzzo emphasized the commitment of the Catholic Church to women, “It is an amazing step on behalf the Catholic Church, to elevate the memory of Mary Magdalene to a feast. She was considered as an Apostle to the Apostles and as such, she was the first witness of the Resurrection and the first woman to spread the Good News. I thank the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement – the priests, consecrated women and volunteers who take care of this holy place. You have done a wonderful job and the local and universal church, thank you!”
The Bishop remarked that Mary Magdalene was not the sinner that many people think, but simply a tormented person from whom seven demons were expelled.
Father Juan Solana LC, Director of Magdala, “When Pope Francis declared the elevation of St. Mary Magdalene to feast, he wanted to honor women. I think Mary Magdalene is an example for all women today.
Magdala is committed to researching and preserving the archaeological finds at the site. While much has already been discovered, including a first century synagogue, only about 20% of the ancient city has been unearthed. The archaeological discoveries at Magdala strengthen historical bonds between Jews and Christians. Magdala is a crossroads of Jewish and Christian history.
This hometown of Mary Magdalene is fast becoming a must stop for visitors to the Holy Land. TripAdvisor ranks Magdala as the top site to visit in Galilee because of its service and attention to the public. So far, Magdala has received over 140,000 visitors and is expecting to have 60,000 more in the remaining months of 2016.
The following pictures record some of the day’s special activities: