Inauguration of the Library of the Domus Galilaeae 3/31/2005
S. John Paul II
Korazín, March 31, 2005
The library was inaugurated on March 31, 2005 with the presence of more than 50 bishops, coming from many parts of the world. Among them, 11 Cardinals, the Patriarch Michel Sabbah, three patriarchs from eastern churches, the apostolic nuncio Msgr. Pietro Sambi, the guardian of the Holy Land, representatives of the Congregations and Universities, the rectors of the 56 Redemptoris Mater seminaries and itinerants from the Neocatechumenal Way. All were present to highlight the important role of the Domus Galilaeae, as a “bridge” between Judaism and Christianity, which the Holy Father has attributed to this “domus” with a letter sent for the occasion. At the entrance of the Library we find a big crystal semipshere, with a starred sky above. At the entrance there is a complete Torah Roll, written three hundred years ago.
The Torah is located in the center of the library, which is part of the complex of the Domus Galilaeae. Kiko Argüello, that is the author of the Domus Galilaeae project and of the Library, said a few words to express the structure. “The sphere is the symbol of the universe and expresses the central idea of Judaism and of Christianity that we find in the book of Proverbs 8, 29-30: “When God was planning the foundations of the earth, I (wisdom) was there as an architect”. The Library will be specialized in the Sermon on the Mount in order to offer bishops, priests and seminarians the possibility of deepening the study and meditation on this text.” In the following pages we reproduce the letter that John Paul II wanted to send for the occasion. It has been one of the last official acts of his pontificate.
“Dear brothers and sisters: 1. With joy I learned that next March 31, the chapel of the ‘Domus Galilaeae’, will be inaugurated on the Mount of Beatitudes. At the conclusion of the convivence, in which numerous Cardinals, bishops and priests from different parts of the world participating, together with the rectors of the seminaries belonging to the Neocatechumenal Way, this significant event will take place. I welcome it, and I ideally unite myself to it, giving my cordial greetings to the organizers and everyone present. In particular, I greet the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land, with their head the Latin Patriarch, the religious and political authorities of the Hebrew world involved in this event, the representatives of the religious congregations and the parish communities of the region.
The ‘Domus Galilaeae’ is enriched with a new important structure, the Library, which precisely has the Book of the Torah in its center in order to also architecturally symbolize the centrality of the Word of God. That this house, carried out by those responsible for the Neocatechumenal Way, may favor, with appropriate initiatives, a deep religious formation and a prolific dialogue between Hebraism and the Catholic Church.
2. ‘Your word is a lamp for my steps’ (Ps 119,105). Thus the psalmist sings and thus all those who will be invited to pray they will use the multiple services that the Library will offer, now inaugurated. The Universe has been built according to a wonderful project inspired by the wisdom of God. The Gospel of John begins affirming that “in the beginning the Word existed and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (Jn 1,1). The Word, eternal Wisdom of God, has become flesh, has put its tent among us and with his death and resurrection, has redeemed us. We contemplate with joy, in these holy days of Easter, this fundamental mystery of our faith. Christ, firstborn of all creation, climax of the Torah, has risen and now lives and walks with us, continuing to enlighten us with his Word of salvation.
How deep are his teachings! How new is the Sermon on the Mount always inscribed in the Universe! The beauty of Christ that finds its coronation in the Beatitudes, the beauty of Christ shining in the Church, his mystical body, they manifest in an eminent way in the love that unites believers: this is the message that the architectural structure of the building of the ‘Domus Galilaeae’ intends to communicate to its guests and pilgrims. I wish from the heart that all those who have the opportunity to reside in it or visiting it may grow in the knowledge and the love of Christ, Wisdom in which the beginning of everything is placed.
3. Dear brothers and sisters! While I join you with my thoughts, I relive in my mind the unforgettable moments of the visit that the Lord allowed me to do in Holy Land, during the great Jubilee of the year 2000. Right in these days is its anniversary. In Korazín, on the Mount of Beatitudes, not far from the ‘Domus Galilaeae’, I had the opportunity to meet with the young people and celebrate Holy Mass for them. I wanted to point out to them as a rule of life the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, and I invited them to a total fidelity to Christ. This same invitation I make to all of you in that same place where the immortal words of the Redeemer continue to resonate. In your daily existence, translate it into concrete works and be in every circumstance humble and courageous witnesses of the Gospel.
The Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization, be your model and guide. I assure to keep a special memory of you in prayer, while with affection I bless you and all your loved ones.”
From the Vatican, March 24, 2005, Holy Thursday
Joannes Paulus PP II