|Mass at Magdala Center Inauguration|
Migdal, Galilee – The Magdala Center was inaugurated on
May 28, 2014.
(Click here to see a video of
the event. The video is also highlighted in the Resources section of
Around 600 people, including authorities of the State of
Israel, representatives of the different Christian confessions in the Holy
Land and members of the Muslim community were present at
the event. Especially relevant was the presence of the Apostolic
Nuncio to Israel, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, as well as that
of the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
Inauguration of the Archeological Park
The event took place in
the ruins of the synagogue of Magdala which, according to
the Israel Antiquities Authority, is the most important archeological discovery
of the century.
The event began with words from Fr. Juan
Solana LC, director of the Magdala Center. Dr. Gideon Talgam,
sub-director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, also addressed those present,
saying, “This project has fallen into the best hands possible. The
developer and the archeologists have worked together. Foreign universities such
as Universidad Anáhuac del Sur and the Universidad Autónoma de
México have been involved in the investigation. This is something
One of the most solemn moments of the inauguration
was the singing of Psalm 117 by Rabbi Ehud Bandel.
The psalm says: “Praise the Lord, all you nations; proclaim
him all you peoples.” Afterwards, the Melchite priest Maron proclaimed,
in Greek, the gospel that recounts Jesus’ preaching in the
synagogues of Galilee, curing the sick.
The mayor of Migdal,
Israel Ambrosi, addressed those in attendance in Hebrew, inviting them
to continue seeking cooperation between Jews and Christians. At the
same time, he said that the new site is a
blessing in his city.
|Cutting the ribbon (from left to right) are project archeologist Dina Gorni Avshalom, Carlos Fernandez representing the benefactors, Fr. Juan Solana LC, Ahuva Zaken from the ministry of tourism and Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto.|
A few seminarians of
the Legionaries of Christ performed musical pieces during the event.
The ceremony concluded with the cutting of the ribbon to
inaugurate the park. The ribbon was cut by the Nuncio
Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Ahuva Zaken from the ministry of tourism,
Dina Gorni Avshalom, the project’s archeologist, Carlos Fernandez, representing the
benefactors, and Fr. Juan.
Other people who cooperated in the
project also received recognition, especially the archeologists, among whom was
the Mexican Marcela Zapata, of the Universidad Anáhuac del Sur
and of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, both in
Dedication of the Duc in Altum Church and
of the Spirituality Center
The Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal, consecrated the
"Duc in Altum" Church. Four bishops and around 40 priests
accompanied him as concelebrants. There were also representatives of the
Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Scotland, other Christian confessions
and Jewish representatives.
Fr. Juan and the architect Rodolfo de
la Garza gave the patriarch the keys to the new
church, a sign that the building is being dedicated to
the worship of God. The chapel finds its inspiration in
the ministry of Christ on the Sea of Galilee and
in the preponderant role of women in evangelization and the
life of the Church.
"In the atrium, each pillar bears
the name of a woman from the gospel," said architect
De la Garza. "But there is one with no name. It
is dedicated to all the women who are pillars in
their own families and who hand on the faith."
the ceremony, the patriarch thanked Fr. Solana, Regnum Christi and
the Legionaries of Christ for their contribution to the Church.
“I hope that, for the thousands of pilgrims who visit
this place, it will be an opportunity to experience God
made man who walked in these lands,” said Archbishop Twal.
“We believe that, just as Mary Magdalene experienced God’s mercy,
as well many pilgrims will experience the love of God,”
said Fr. Solana. “The altar is in the shape of
a boat because Christ taught his disciples from a boat.
We hope that whoever comes here will have the same
experience. While it’s true that the boat is an imitation,
the presence of Christ in the Eucharist truly is real,
in the tabernacle that Pope Francis blessed on Monday."
project of the Magdala Center has several phases. The first
has been inaugurated, but a hotel for pilgrims and a
restaurant are still to be constructed. The archeological park and
the Spirituality Center with the Duc in Altum Church and
4 other chapels as well as an all-faiths chapel have
“The archeological discoveries of this center unite us
to both Jews and Christians," said Fr. Juan. "The Magdala
Center is called to foster reflection on the role of
women in the Church and in society. On May 28th,
we will inaugurate the first phase of the construction, which
consists in the church and the archeological park. We still
have to find the funds to build the hotel for
pilgrims and other installations."
At the end of the Mass, Fr.
Solana thanked the architects, artists and other people who helped
with the Magdala Center project. “Working together has been an
extraordinary experience, though it has been a challenge to communicate
at times. Today we are very happy that this dream
is a reality.” He also thanked Patriarch Twal for his
presence and the benefactors from around the world who had
made the inauguration of the Magdala Center possible.
discoveries of Magdala offer an opportunity to scientifically explore the
relationship between Jews and Christians of the first century. Two
Mexican universities have carried out the archeological project: the Universidad
Nacional Autónoma de México, in Mexico City, and Anáhuac University.