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Turn to Jesus (Article)

A New Holy Place is Born
On May 28, 2014, the "Duc in Altum" Church at the Magdala Center will be dedicated

In front of the Duc in Altum Chapel
In front of the Duc in Altum Chapel are (left to right) Fr. Eamon Kelly, LC, with Bishop William Shomali, Bishop Maroun Lahham, Bishop Giacinto-BoulosMarcuzzo and Fr. Juan María Solana, LC.

In 2004 the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement began a steady presence in the Holy Land, commissioned by Blessed John Paul II to manage the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. During that time, they have been building on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Migdal, the Magdala Center to serve pilgrims to Israel.

The project began with approval on October 7, 2007, by Archbishop Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and later with the blessing of the first stone by Pope Benedict XVI on May 11, 2009, and the start of construction on December 30 of the same year.

With hard work and dedication this new pilgrim center has reached an important goal.  It is expected that Pope Francis, during his upcoming trip to the Holy Land, will bless the sanctuary of the new church of Magdala Center in a private ceremony. On May 28, 2014, Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, will celebrate the rite of dedication at the “Duc in Altum” church in the Magdala Center. The ceremony will be preceded by the opening of Magdala Archaeological Park, with the participation of local authorities.

The "Duc in Altum" (translated from Latin as “Into the Deep”) sanctuary has a main chapel preceded by an octagonal atrium. Each of the pillars of the court is dedicated to one of the women who accompanied and helped Jesus in his public life. The architectural complex also has four smaller chapels for up to 50 people each. Below
Visiting bishops examinge the octagonal atrium in Magdala
Visiting bishops examinge the octagonal atrium
the church is a crypt with an ecumenical chapel, including a specially decorated floor honoring Jesus’ time in this city by the sea.

The new church will be part of the larger complex which will include in the future: a shelter to house pilgrims visiting the Holy Land; a place to show a multimedia message on the life of Jesus and the history of the area; a center that promotes human dignity and the vocation of women, inspired by the figure of Mary Magdalene; the preservation and exhibition of the ruins of a synagogue from the time of Jesus.

In a letter dated June 26, 2012, Archbishop Fouad Twal adopted the name of the church, "Duc in Altum," and gave approval to the chapel altar, which is shaped like a boat.

Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar to Israel for Galilee, is offering counsel in all that relates to issues of ecumenism for the center.

Fr. Arturo Diaz , LC, a member of the Legion community living in the Holy Land, said, "For every priest, being in the Holy Land is a very special grace, but it is more so if you live here, next to the Sea of Galilee.  Besides being the city where Christ met Mary Magdalene, Magdala was likely on His tour of cities and synagogues in Galilee during His public ministry. It offers a magnificent view…the lake shore, the mountains, roads...with all this, we can guess what it will mean for the millions of pilgrims who come
View of the Sea of Galilee.
View of the Sea of Galilee.
here over time."

Alessandra Soldati, a consecrated member of Regnum Christi who arrived with the first group dedicated to forming a community in the Holy Land on December 3, 2004, said: "This starts an important stage in the mission of the family of Regnum Christi in the Holy Land. This mission actually began in 2005 and continues to move forward through the efforts of Legionaries of Christ, Regnum Christi members and many others. Now that construction is finished in the "Duc in Altum" sanctuary, it is an opportunity to invite others to have the same experience of Peter casting his nets in the ´deep,´ becoming apostles of Christ´s message.

"This event is very important for the Church in the Holy Land, because the Magdala Center is a Christian/Catholic project, located at a strategic location at a crossroads where all the pilgrims who visit the Sea of Galilee from various nationalities and religious denominations come, including bishops, priests and members of various congregations and movements. This church is the first stage of the whole project of Magdala Center.  There is still much to be done.  We need to pray that we will get the help needed to do this work God has placed in our hands."

Fr. Juan Solana, LC, head of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center and director of the Magdala project, said, "For me it´s a dream come true. A dream that came from the heart of God, who loves the church, who loves His Holy Land and who loves women…For me it is a special grace for my priesthood and my experience of Christ. It is an Evangelical Holy Place that God, in His providence, has entrusted to the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, especially in these difficult years in our history. Thanks to everyone. Your
An aerial view of the entire center.
An aerial view of the entire center.
support and enthusiasm have been essential. I think it will be a very special place to share our charism with people around the world."

You can learn more about the inauguration of the Magdala Center here.



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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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