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Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center commemorates its 130th anniversary of serving pilgrims in the Holy Land, probably the richest land on Earth

“Terra Sancta,” a photo-book honoring the Holy Sites of pilgrimages was launched on this celebration

Jerusalem, September 13th, 2018. The historical guesthouse, Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, commemorated 130 years of serving and welcoming pilgrims to the Holy Land. A book titled “Terra Sancta,” which honors the beauty and magnificence of the “Fifth Gospel” as St. Jerome called the Holy Land, was released before the diplomatic corps, religious authorities, media, and friends.


The book, prepared in collaboration between renowned Franciscan Scholar Fr. Eugenio Alliata, OFM, and Enrico Formica, one of Europe´s pioneers in the field of 360-degree photography, attributes the Holy Land to most likely be the richest land on Earth due to its history, people, geography, and climate. Through its 215 pages, readers are captivated by photographs that capture views that sweep across 360° and allow the beholder to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of this sacred and ageless land. The photo book is available at the boutique gift shop of Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center and costs $90 USD. Revenues will support local projects in the Holy Land.

“To be part of a Center that commemorate 130 years of serving pilgrims in this part of the world is amazing. Not only because of the richness and history that are housed within this place and its grounds, but also because serving God where everything began is priceless. It is for this reason that we are releasing this photo-book today honoring the history of the people, cultures, and sites that have received pilgrims in this beautiful land. I think some pictures tell a small piece of a story, but some others also capture memories forever.” said the Chargé of the Holy See for Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, Fr. Juan Solana, LC.


Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center is part of this land´s history and dates to 1882 when under the direction of a French religious order called the Augustinians of the Assumption (short form Assumptionist) the property on which Notre Dame sits on today was purchased. The building only partially built by 1888 received its first group of pilgrims that year. Approximately 500 French pilgrims adventured in each pilgrimage group from then on to be lodged in Notre Dame de France as it was known at the time. The building was heavily damaged in the war of 1947 and subsequently suffered drop-in pilgrimages due to the situation in the area. On March 2nd, 1972, the site was turned over to the Holy See and the restoration of the building was completed in 1978 becoming once more a center to host pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land.

On November 26th, 2004 the Pope John Paul II entrusted the Pontifical Institute, Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center to the Legionaries of Christ, assigning Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C., as the new Chargé.


“It has been an honor to be appointed by Pope St. John Paull II to lead this significant place for the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. We will continue improving our mission of serving and welcoming pilgrims, ministering the local Christian community, training local youth in hospitality and tourism in hopes to offer them opportunities for a better future, fostering peace and dialogue among cultures and peoples, as was entrusted to us by the Pope.” concluded the Mexican priest.

Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center consists of a Guesthouse, Chapel, Auditorium, the Hospitality and Education Training Section (HETS), an educational center dedicated to training local youth in the Culinary Arts and the Tourism industry, as well as a permanent exhibition titled, “Who is the man of the Shroud?” displaying a replica of the Shroud of Turin. The guesthouse offers comfortable rooms and suites with magnificent views of the Old City; restaurants to serve every taste but most important of all, the services needed to live a profound spiritual experience in the Holy Land. Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center is uniquely located in the heart of the City, a few steps away from the Old City’s New Gate and a short walk away from the Holy Sepulcher and most of Jerusalem´s major tourist attractions.

Learn more here https://www.notredamecenter.org


About the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Notre Dame received its first pilgrims in 1888. The cornerstone of the chapel was laid during the Eucharistic World Congress of 1893. The chapel was consecrated the following year. Ever since it has been open for guests. From daily masses, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and holy feasts among other celebrations the Center has been a symbolic place for Catholics from all over the world. In 1904, after twenty years of ongoing construction, the guesthouse was completed and crowned with the great statue of the Virgin Mary, a replica of Our Lady of Salvation in Paris. The complex was completed according to Abbé Brisacier’s original plan, harmoniously, combining architectural sobriety, a contemporary style, and an arabesque influence.
Until the First World War, the building also served as a seminary for future Assumptionists. After the Second World War, the building was heavily damaged during the Israeli-Arab conflict of 1948. The south wing became unsuitable as a result of the explosion of two bombs and became an Israeli guard post. The north wing and the small houses in the garden were occupied by numerous refugees. The Assumptionists lived in the central wing next to the chapel and continued their mission, offering hospitality to a greatly reduced number of faithful pilgrims. With the situation has become untenable, the center was eventually turned over to the Holy See on March 2nd, 1972 and restored to its original status as a pilgrim center.
The reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Notre Dame center became a project very dear to Pope Paul VI. Starting in 1973, Notre Dame of Jerusalem was gradually resurrected as the Holy See’s international pilgrim center. On December 27th, 1978 His Eminence Cardinal Terence J. Cooke, Archbishop of New York, officially promulgated the decree signed by Saint John Paul II
 which established the center as a Pontifical Institute and an ecumenical holy place. On November 26th, 2004 Saint John Paul II entrusted the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center to the Legionaries of Christ with a Motu Proprio. Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C., was assigned as the new Chargé of the Holy See for Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center.
At present, the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center is committed to fulfilling every aspect entrusted by Saint John Paul II to promote and facilitate the fruitful spiritual development of local and international Christians by providing: Hospitality to pilgrims coming from all over the world to visit the Holy Land, and in a special way to clergy and consecrated people, fostering initiatives to promote places of meeting and dialogue among religions, cultures, and peoples and providing formation activities for local youth to improve their socio-economic future.
Moreover, several ecclesiastical offices and bureaus are accommodated in the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, its ecumenical character is assured by its establishment as a Praelatura Nullius.

 Photos by Enrico Formica