By Fr. Eamon Kelly, LC
There is something for you here, for sure!
Since Covid-19 lockdown started in March, sadly, we had to let our employees in Magdala go home until mid-June when locals were allowed to travel internally and enjoy a stay at our brand-new guesthouse. Our employees could again earn a salary for their families from June to September. For a month we are closed again and who knows when we will reopen. It is quiet here. Minimal lighting means more stars are visible but jackals are braver and just around the corner. A stark contrast from the almost ¼ million visitors last year who came to visit the archeology and pray in Duc in Altum. Interestingly, we have been equally busy! LIVESTREAMING happened!
While the whole world was on edge regarding the novel virus, we were led to become more proactive in social media. News Outlets, Agencies and Guides, our great partners in serving visitors, wanted to interview, film or broadcast from here. We also started livestreaming prayer daily and people received Holy Scripture in a fresh way and felt connected to the inspiration of the Holy Sites. Our far most popular offer is a 31 Holy Land Virtual Pilgrimage & Retreat throughout this month, for each of the 31 days of October. Every day, people can visit a Holy Site and get presentations by Kathleen Nichols in English and Fr Juan Solana in Spanish.
Afterwards he and I preside a mass in Spanish and English respectively. Until recently, we had a very modest presence in YouTube but suddenly in the last weeks the Subscriber numbers have skyrocketed. Various Spanish presentations have had over 25K, 35K, then 70K and even over 100,000 viewings each. Right now, our October Holy Land Virtual Pilgrimage & Retreat is practically going viral. You could still register for free here and get the materials for this experience, gratis.
More importantly, people are telling us how heart-lifting and even transforming these experiences are for them. God is a God of surprises! There is a grace in every circumstance and he works everywhere and in everyone! A Catholic and a Protestant renewed their marriage vows in their New Jersey living room during the wedding at Cana celebration we livestreamed. She wrote they would open the wine at dinner!
Besides, Muslims, Jews, Christians of all shapes & sizes, Agnostics and others participate in a Live-28-minute Sunrise Stroll & Chat – uploaded afterwards on YouTube everyone is welcome.
More recently, I started an Instagram LIVE either before or after the Facebook one and it appears in IGTV. It is shorter and more energetic while the Facebook one is more contemplative. The timetable slides with the sunrise: in June: about 5.30 am and now it is about 7.00 am.
Abendspaziergang, a 15-minute weekly sunset German edition on Fridays (currently fixed at 6 pm here) is available live on my same YouTube and uploaded to Facebook page afterwards until I learn to do both live simultaneously!
Folks from Australia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong across Europe to California, Alaska, Mexico, Canada are interacting with people from South Africa to Ireland and Finland. Not only do people share the images but have re-edited extracts and added music! A Radio Ham brought it to his listeners! One lady wrote a poem and it is attached below. The author prefers anonymity. The daily comments show how an online community is developing. Participants share in the grief of recently bereaved and in the joy of a new baby and of course with good wishes and prayers for special intentions and needs.
Enjoy today’s Sunrise Chat & Stroll here or on Facebook. Grateful if you subscribe, Like, Share, etc.
Let us know if you would like us to do something special for you and your family or local community. This is a time for creativity! Let’s create! Put us to work!
It’s been and still is a learning curve for us, not only technically but also in-depth prayer for all the participants.
Praying for you, your family and your intentions here at the Sea of Galilee, now.
Sun Rising over Sea of Galilee
Sun behind clouds peeping,
Red, pink, orange; clouds turning,
Golden Sun; full, round, gloriously shining,
Yellow rays extending,
Holy God gifting, loving, blessing.
Sea of Galilee shimmering, reflecting,
Birds calling, dancing, flying,
Woof, woof; Soter playing.
Reeds, wildflowers swaying,
Flowers red, gold; trees blossoming,
Tall, strong Eucalyptus standing,
Old, gnarled olive trees; fruit still bearing
Date palms brimming,
Chapel window mirroring.
Holy Word; Father Eamon reading,
Comments; people posting,
Liking, chatting, responding,
Love hearts pumping, sharing,
Magdala Family praying, bonding,
Father & Family loving, uniting.