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Gala to benefit pilgrimage center, archeological dig in the Holy Land
Galilee Gala, Magdala Center to foster inter-religious relationships
By Roxanne King
attendance | TICKET SALES
Ticket donations start at $150 per person. Sponsorships are also available.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd. in Denver.
An interfaith gala next week aims to build bridges between religions and benefit a pilgrimage center in the Holy Land that is located on the site of a 2,000-year-old synagogue.
The gala will celebrate the recent discovery of the synagogue, which the Israeli Antiquities Authority has called, “the most important archaeological discovery ever related to the Second Temple.”
The Galilee Gala is set for 6 p.m. June 8 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Religious leaders attending the gala include Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Greek Orthodox leader Metropolitan Isaiah, Rabbi Richard Rheins and immediate past president of the American Baptist Church Rev. Dr. Mary Hulst.
Event proceeds will help fund the Legionaries of Christ’s 20-acre Magdala Center, which is located in the biblical town of Magdala on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Legionaries Father Eamon Kelly, assistant director of the Magdala Center, said the $100 million complex will include a 300-bed hotel, a multimedia center to share the Christian narrative of sacred sites in the Holy Land, an international center for women, and an archeological zone.
First phase of the complex, the hotel, is expected to be completed next year. Currently, construction for that facility and archeological digging is taking place.
“In September 2009, while preparing to develop a major pilgrim center in Magdala, we discovered a first-century synagogue—the most ornate of the synagogues of antiquity and the first one in Galilee, where Jesus walked—in which was also discovered the oldest menorah ever found on stone,” explained Father Kelly. “The Israeli Antiquities Authority labeled this discovery ‘the most important ever made related to the Second Temple period.’
“As Providence would have it,” he added, “the discovery was made precisely on the site of a planned ecumenical chapel. So we read this as a signal to develop the ecumenical and inter-religious potential of the place.”
|Pictured above: An eastern side view of the Magdala Stone. The stone was discovered at site of the 20-acre Magdala Center, which is located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in the Holy Land.|
The gala seeks to foster that same inter-religious spirit, organizers said. At the event, Rev. Dr. James Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches, will receive the Magdala Center’s first Bridge Building Award for his career efforts fostering inter-religious dialogue and relationships.
The program will also include a reception, dinner, a video presentation on the significance of the archeological dig taking place on the site, musical entertainment led by composer-pianist Eric Genius and remarks by Father Kelly. Master of ceremonies will be 7News anchor Bertha Lynn.
Gala committee members include former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and wife Jeannie, Augustine Institute president Tim Gray, Colorado Christian University president Sen. Bill Armstrong, and Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado CEO Doug Seserman.
“Through the Galilee Gala, may Denver be blessed with yet another opportunity for growth in the awareness of commonality among all who believe and all people of good will,” Father Kelly said.
Ticket donations start at $150 per person. Sponsorships are also available. For tickets, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Magdala Center, visit www.magdalacenter.com. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd. in Denver.