On Thursday, February 7, 2019, the Saxum Visitor Center in Abu Ghosh officially opened.
Yariv Levin, the Minister of Tourism of Israel, and Bishop Giacinto Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem were present, in addition to around 130 participants. Mr. Levin said, “I truly believe that this center has the potential of attracting tourists and pilgrims from all over the world, who are looking for a meaningful way to learn about history.”
Bishop Marcuzzo added, “This center helps to make the history of the past present. The pilgrims who come here, those of our time, of this century, must live the experience of the mysteries that took place between God and the men and women of that time.”
The Saxum Visitor Center hopes to give Christian pilgrims and tourists an easier and more modern way to understand the history of the Holy Land. It includes a timeline that combines dates of human civilization with those of the Old Testament; a huge stone map with the journey of Abraham and Moses; and touchscreens and 4D projections about Jerusalem and the Holy Sites.
The idea is to make it easier for pilgrims and tourists to construct a mental picture in their head of all that they have seen and learned in the Holy Land, for when they return home.
Saxum means “rock” in Latin and refers to the nickname that St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, gave to Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, because of his strong and faithful character. The project is in honor of the memory of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, who died the day after he returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in 1994.