Redemptoris Mater: Where seminarians are trained to stay in Holy Land

It’s on the Mount of Beatitudes next to Domus Galilaeae, the Neocatechumenal Way’s pilgrimage and retreat center.

This is the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Galilee, the house that has been training for 10 years the future priests who will accompany the Middle East communities.

In this Neocatechumenal Way seminary, 34 seminarians from 14 countries and three different rites Latin, Greek-Catholic and Maronite are studying.

FRANCESCO GIOSUÈ VOLTAGGIO
Rector, Redemptoris Mater Galilea Seminary
“The Redemptoris Mater of Galilee Seminary is a diocesan seminary, that is, for the local Church. However, at the same time, we are a mission and willing to go anywhere in the world, but especially to the Middle East. This is because we know that there is a great need for priests and missionaries willing to go to one country or another.”

Fr. Francesco Giosuè Voltaggio is the rector of this center. He has been living in the Holy Land for 15 years, where he has learned that Eastern Christians not only need material help, but also spiritual support, so they don’t lose the essence of their faith in the midst of so many difficulties.

FRANCESCO GIOSUÈ VOLTAGGIO
Rector, Redemptoris Mater Galilea Seminary
“Eastern Christians are essential because they are a living presence. We are on the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus said that you can not hide a city on a hill. Christians are a light, they are salt and they are yeast, even if they are few. It is precisely because we are few that we have this mission to enlighten and to be a concrete bridge on this land between the Arab world and the Jewish world. The presence of Christians is fundamental.”

This is why priests are receiving formation here to strengthen the presence of Christianity. One of them is Javier, who arrived at this place in 2010. Like this young Spaniard, all those who study in this seminary have learned Arabic and Hebrew.

But their formation is not limited to the Christian sphere. They also know the Islamic and Jewish faith and traditions.

JAVIER MARTÍNEZ ALCALÁ
Seminarian
“We do courses on the Koran to know more about Muslims. We study Hebrew and their feasts in order to know as well as love the Hebrews. But, above all, we live with the Christian Arabs.”  “This house is really a bridge for dialogue, be it with Arabs, Muslims and Hebrews. I believe it is possible because Jesus Christ is capable of transforming everything.”

On this Mount of the Beatitudes, next to the seminary, also stands Domus Galilaeae, created and designed by the founder of the Way, Kiko Argüello.

The heart of this place is in this room, a library overlooking Lake Tiberias in which this beautiful 15th century Torah is preserved, which attracts visitors from all over the world, especially Jews.

ARMANDO MEDINA VARGAS
Vice rector, Domus Galilea
“I believe that in this last year 12,000 to 13,000 people, 12,000 Jews, as well as other visitors from around the world have visited.”

This Neocatechumenal Way center for pilgrimages and retreats has become an authentic meeting point for the different peoples of the Holy Land. A house with open doors on the same mountain where Christ delivered his sermon on the mount.