As construction finished on the new pilgrim center in Magdala, Regnum Christi held an international convention for women from October 29 to November 7, 2019.
Fr. Juan Solana, LC, director of Magdala Center, organized the convention. Nuria Piera, one of three attending from the Barcelona Regnum Christi women’s section helped describe this experience on the shores of Lake Genesaret, in a place where Jesus preached, the town of Mary Magdalene.
The convention had the following objectives: to live a Regnum Christi family reunion of sorts; to exchange experiences and apostolates between the various localities represented; to open the new Magdala guesthouse to Regnum Christi women; and, fundamentally, to deepen in prayer and dialogue.
“We were able to get to know the Magdala Project in Galilee, Israel, first-hand.” explained Nuria. IN 2005, Fr. Juan Solana, LC, felt that Christ was calling him to build a pilgrim center and a church on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he could create a unique spiritual and gathering environment.
When construction began in 2009, nobody imagined that they were about to discover a first century synagogue, where Jesus most likely preached: “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.” (Matthew 9:35)
Nuria noted, “It is a very emotional experience to feel that Jesus most likely walked the same streets that are currently being trodden.”
Visit to Magdala
The participants in the international convention were able to visit the Magdala Center, which consists of several areas:
“Duc in altum” which is the church with its boat-shaped altar overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
There is an atrium dedicated to the women who followed Jesus (the Virgin of Guadalupe painted on the dome, surrounded by columns inscribed with the names of the women who appear in the Gospel, leaving one column bare to represent all of us).
There are also four chapels with beautiful mosaics picturing Jesus’ activity around the lake, and the Ecumenical Chapel, which highlights a spectacular picture of the passage of the Gospel that tells the story of the hemorrhaging woman, with the floor of the chapel that is the original market of Magdala.
The archaeological center with the Synagogue, which highlights the discovery of the Magdala Stone (small model of the Jerusalem temple) and the Pilgrims’ Guesthouse, where the women stayed.
The women had time to visit the Holy Places, accompanied by Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and Fr. Juan, with their deep reflections, as well as living the Holy Mass with the Gospels of the place.
The women also participated in adoration. Nuria spoke of adoration on the Sea of Galilee at night that moved her: “The experience of being with the Lord on the waters, as were the first apostles. Only the sound of the water, all dark, the Lord in the center in the light of the candles, and the lights of Magdala in the background, with a beautiful reflection of Fr. Eamon Kelly, LC. Certainly something that will remain etched in our hearts forever.”
In the afternoons, the women attend interesting conferences related to women, such as a talk from Consecrated Woman Marta Rodriguez on “The Talents of Women in the World and in the Church.”
The women also had activities, teamwork and the opportunity to make proposals for the expansion of the Magdala project, such as the Institute for the Dignity of Women. Magdala is known as a place of conversion in the Holy Land, so healing retreats are also foreseen. The woman were given opportunities to volunteer at the center, to meet Christ on the lakeshore at sunset with Gospel reflections and songs, to evangelize the visitors at the site, to help discern how Magdala fits with the whole of Regnum Christi, and to discuss and analyze ideas.
Nuria concluded, “We have returned with the feeling that our heart burns a little more with the love of God, which unites us to all men and women and makes us family and Christian community wherever we are. Thanks to the great family of Regnum Christi, we hope that Magdala is always a place for pilgrims to come to the Holy Land, ‘the only place in the world where the travel guide is the Bible.’”
The convention was just a few days before the official inauguration of the pilgrim center on November 24, 2019.
You can read the original on the Spanish language Regnum Christi site.