Nearly two years after the arson attack on the Benedictine Monastery in Tabgha, the place was rededicated on Sunday, February 12, 2017.
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne and President of the German Association of the Holy Land, was the main celebrant at the Sunday morning mass in the Basilica of the Multiplication of the Loaves on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He was surrounded by bishops and priests, including the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Greek Catholic Archbishop of Galilee George Bacouni and Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo. Father David, responsible for the Hebrew speaking and migrant communities, also participated in the celebration too.
In a moving homily, Cardinal Woelki underlined that the Church rejects all narrow forms of nationalism that lead to rejection and violence. He also stressed that the Church prays for one and all, including those who attacked the church and tried to burn it down in June 2015. He gave thanks for the fact that no one had been serious hurt in the attack and for the generosity of those who contributed to the reconstruction.
After the mass and the blessing of some of the areas that had been reconstructed, a formal ceremony took place in the atrium of the church. Speakers included Cardinal Woelki, the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, Shaykh Muwaffaq Tarif, leader of the Druze community, and Rabbi Alon Goshen Gottstein. The common theme in all the addresses was the rejection of violence and fanaticism and the commitment to work together to build a just society.