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The Holy Land Needs You
Support requested for campaign to build the Magdala Center in the Holy Land

Magdala Stone
A replica of the Magdala Stone at a fundraising event

Christianity needs the Holy Land, and the Holy Land needs you!

This is the slogan for the fundraising campaign underway to support the building of the Magdala Center located in the ancient city of Magdala, the home of St. Mary Magdalene.

Part of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center in the Holy Land, the center will serve as shelter for pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and surrounding areas.  The Magdala and Notre Dame centers are overseen by members of the Legion of Christ.

Director of the Notre Dame Center, Fr. Juan María Solana, LC, said that, given the important historic significance of the site, the Legion of Christ and the Israeli authorities are “committed to restore and preserve the beauty and sanctity of the place for future generations.”

During preparation at the worksite, workers discovered an ancient synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues ever discovered, and the only one in Galilee that dates back to the time of Jesus. One of the most outstanding finds during excavation is the bimah, referred to as the Magdala Stone.  A bimad is an elevated area or platform, similar
Fr. Juan María Solana, LC
Fr. Juan María Solana, LC
to an altar, in the synagogue where one stands to read from the Torah.  Other important discoveries include the Miqvaot purification bath, the fishery, part of the old city’s port, a villa, as well as ancient streets, pottery and coins. The excavations are being conducted by archaeologists from Anahuac University together with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). 

Because of the magnitude of the project and the current world economic crisis, Fr. Juan said help is needed to support their efforts “right now!” 

“We invite you to join us in prayer and with whatever means you have to make this a reality!” he said. “Your donation will not only help us build the Center at the Lake of Galilee where Jesus carried out his ministry, but also build a better bridge for peace and reconciliation for the local community and to be of great service to believers and people of good will!”

According to Fr. Juan, the center will help sustain a Christian presence in the Holy Land.

“The indigenous Christians constitute now less than 1% of the total population, at one point they were 25%!” he said. “Therefore it is necessary to take a proactive role in sustaining the living witness for Christianity in the Holy Land, where it all started!”

The Magdala project has been divided into various phases. The 1st phase is ‘Duc In Altum’ Spirituality Center and the Visitors Center, which includes the first century synagogue. (“Duc in Altum” means “put out into the deep” a reference to Jesus’ challenge to his disciples in the Gospel of Luke, 5: 4-6.) The goal was to inaugurate these areas before the end of 2012.

“However we do not have the necessary funds to complete the 1st phase this year,” said Fr. Juan.  “Our hope is to inaugurate it by the end of the Year of Faith, November 2013.”

Those interested in donating to the Magdala Project can do so online at, or find there the information for a bank transfer.



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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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