27-May-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Francis Blesses Tabernacle of New Holy Land Spirituality Center

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Will Preside at Dedication of New Facility

VATICAN CITY, May 27, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis visited the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center yesterday and blessed a tabernacle to be housed in the chapel of a new spirituality center in the town of Magdala.

The Magdala Center project, sponsored by the Legionaries of Christ, comprises a spirituality center being built on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. It also includes the "Duc in Altum" [Beyond the Deep] church, a hotel for pilgrims and an archaeological park.

Legionary Father Juan Solana, initiator of the Magdala project, told the Pope that the center looks to women in the Gospel for inspiration. The project aims to honor Mary Magdalene and the other women in the Gospel.

Father Solana said he showed the Pope photos of the church, and explained its significance. "I also told him that I had learned a lot from the comments he had made about his grandmother," he said. The Pope replied: "What would the Church be without women?"

Francis has often recalled fond memories of his grandmother. In a radio interview last November, he said it was "my grandmother who taught me to pray. She left a deep spiritual imprint in me and used to tell me stories about the saints."

"The archeological discoveries of this center unite us to both Jews and Christians," Father Solana explained. "The Magdala Center is called to foster reflection on the role of women in the Church and in society."

He said that on May 28th, the first phase of the construction will begin, comprising the church and the archeological park. "We still have to find the funds to build the hotel for pilgrims and other installations," he said.

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, will preside at the Mass at which the spirituality center will be dedicated.

Those who made the construction of the Magdala Center possible, including 120 persons, friends and benefactors who have, were present for the Pope's blessing of the tabernacle.

Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, director general of the Legionaries of Christ, spearheaded the Magdala project and was also present.

The archeological discoveries of Magdala offer an opportunity to scientifically explore the relationship between Jews and Christians of the first century. Two Mexican universities have worked on the archeological project: the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in Mexico City, and Anáhuac University.

To learn more, visit: http://www.magdalacenter.com (D.C.L.)

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