One of the greatest desires of Pope Paul VI was to build in Israel a center where Seminarians could complete their formation before being ordained. It was with this frame of mind that the Vatican purchased Notre Dame, near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. At the beginning of the 80’s, the Custodian in the Holy Land offered the Neo-Catechumenal Way (see page on The Neo-Catechumenal Way) the possibility to build a center of formation, for studies and retreat, on a piece of land situated on the Mount of Beatitudes.
This work is of particular interest to the Church and for Israel. Pope John Paul II, when he was first informed about the project “Domus Galilaeae” in 1994, showed his enthusiasm. He blessed it and supported it, seeing in it a service for all peoples and “for the whole Church”. In the following years all the permits were obtained for the construction which began in January 1999, with the laying of the first stone, which contained a fragment of the tomb of St. Peter, blessed by the Holy Father.