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Turn to Jesus (Article)

History in the Making
Stay up-to-date on the progress of the new Magdala Center, whose walls go up this year.

Notre Dame of Magdala model
A model of the Magdala project.

March 22, 2011. Jerusalem, Israel. Several years ago, Fr Juan María Solana, LC, had an idea while in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. As Chargé of the Holy See for the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, he was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing a pilgrimage center with an illustrious history, and of making it grow to meet the needs of a modern era. So far, the center had effectively met the needs of pilgrims traveling to the holy city. But what about the pilgrims who went to Galilee to explore the places of Jesus’ public life?  Since Galilee is a vacation place for many Israelis, it was not always possible to find a hotel with the ambiance of a retreat center.
That was when the idea occurred to him: why not create a twin center on the shore of the Sea of Galilee? 
Over time, the idea began to take shape: as if by Providence, he and his team of lay colleagues found a plot of land on the lakeshore, in what used to be the ancient town of Magdala. They obtained all of the necessary permissions from the Israeli government, bought the land, and began
magdala project land
The land of the planned Magdala Center under construction.
drafting architectural plans for what would become not just a hotel, but also a multimedia center, a basilica dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, an international center on the dignity of women, and a museum.
This last building—the museum—was added on at the end when significant findings were uncovered during the routine archaeological excavations that take place before any construction is carried out in the Holy Land. An exceptional first-century menorah was found, and more recently, a villa of extraordinary beauty, decorated by a rare mosaic which is only now being uncovered and restored. These ruins, along with the many artifacts found in the soil, will be on display in the Notre Dame of Magdala Museum.
The project has also been enriched by the participation of hundreds of volunteers, mainly youth from Chile who spent several months at a time assisting with the excavations. More recently, the Legionary novices from Ireland have also been assisting with the excavations as part of their summer work month, which is traditionally dedicated to manual labor projects. To view a video of the Legionary novices working on site, click here.
Fr Juan Solana sends out a monthly newsletter in English and
magdala center presentaiton
Fr Juan Solana presents the Magdala project to Pope Benedict XVI.
in Spanish detailing the most recent progress made on the project. Intended mainly for past pilgrims, it is also open to anyone who has an interest in a project that has developed from the seed of an inspiration to a full-fledged work in progress.
If you would like to stay up-to-date on the most recent advances in the Notre Dame of Magdala Center, you can request to be added to the Magdala Center Newsletter at this link. The newsletter will soon be sharing information and pictures about an exciting new step: the raising up of the hotel walls.

Past issues of the newsletter are also available for viewing here in PDF format:
March newsletter
February newsletter

January newsletter
December newsletter
November newsletter
October newsletter
If you would like more information about the Notre Dame of Magdala Center, visit the web site at:

Interested in volunteering at the excavation site?  Click here for more information or contact Carina Scholz at
Interested in going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land?  The New Gate Tours travel agency specializes in arranging spiritual pilgrimages to Jerusalem, with lodging at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. To find out about upcoming pilgrimage packages, click here.



Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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