|Pope Benedict XVI blesses the first stone of the Magdala Center in Galilee.|
Jerusalem, May 11, 2009. During his pilgrimage to Israel, Pope
Benedict XVI blessed the cornerstone of the Magdala Center,
a retreat center that the Legionaries of Christ are building
on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in the
city of Magdala. The Magdala Center will be an extension
of the Pontifical Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, which
Pope John Paul II entrusted to the management of the
Legion of Christ in 2004.
The simple and beautiful ceremony took
place at the end of the Pope’s visit to the
Pontifical Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, where the Pope had
led a meeting for interreligious dialogue earlier that day.
After the blessing of the cornerstone, Fr Juan Solana, LC,
the director of the Pontifical Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center,
gave the Holy Father an explanation of what the project
will entail, showing him a short video presentation of the
center’s multimedia center.
The Holy Father listened with great interest
to the explanation of the future center, and commented that
the cornerstone was sculpted with a figure representing the barque
of Peter and the Latin phrase “Duc in altum,” meaning
“Set out into the deep.”
To conclude the ceremony, the
Pope then gave Father Juan Solana, LC, a silver-plated tabernacle
with the image of the Good Shepherd on the door
as a gift for the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center.
He also signed the Guestbook.
|The Holy Father signs the Guestbook at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center.|
The Holy Father was accompanied by
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy See’s Secretary of State; Bishop
Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; Bishop Antonio Franco,
the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel; Father Álvaro Corcuera, LC, the
General Director of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum
Christi Movement; and Father Luis Garza, LC, the Vicar General
of the Legion of Christ.
To view a video about the
event, click here.
About the Magdala Center
The Magdala Center
will be located in Magdala, the city where Mary of
Magdala was born, on a 20.5-acre plot of land bordering
the Sea of Galilee.
The center will have various elements
aimed at helping pilgrims grow in their spiritual life:
• The Notre Dame of Galilee Hotel with capacity for 300
• The “Magdala, Walk with Me” Media Center to help
pilgrims to envision life in the times of Jesus, and
to hear his message through a dynamic, multi-sensory medium
new Basilica of St Mary Magdalene, where pilgrims can attend
|Fr Juan María Solana, LC, displays the stone that Pope Benedict XVI blessed.|
Mass and receive the sacraments.
• An International Center for Women,
to help foster the awareness of the unique dignity and
vocation of women.
• Access to the ruins of ancient Magdala,
which are under the care of the Franciscan friars and
archeologists in the area.
The Magdala Center strives to answer the
needs of the 2.5 million Christian pilgrims who visit the
Holy Land, 70% of whom come to Galilee. In addition
to the longstanding and important institutions and ministries of the
Franciscan friars in the Holy Land, the Magdala Center will
offer pilgrims a place for prayer, cultural enrichment, and information
about the land and its history, helping them encounter Christ
in the land where much of his public ministry unfolded.