The Magnificat Institute of Jerusalem, a Workshop of Humanity and Coexistence | Franciscans, Youth and Faith

I was appointed as Director of the Magnificat musical institute two years ago, a great privilege but also a great responsibility. The school has been one of the educational projects of the Custody of the Holy Land for over twenty years. What makes it special and in a certain sense unique compared with other schools of the Holy Land is that Christians of all denominations, Jews and Muslims work and study together. The majority of the students are Christians, while the majority of the teachers are Jews. Everyone is welcomed without any distinction of social status and especially of religious belief. Educating to beauty through music and making music together is the first objective of our Institute, but growing in a multicultural and multi-religious environment, in the authentic respect of everyone, is the basis of our educational method.

There is no shortage of minor obstacles to overcome together. I and my team of close collaborators, a Christian and a Jewish teacher, periodically schedule projects, concerts and tours abroad trying to maintain a wise balance between who will participate, which repertoire will be performed and which message we want to reach our audience. Every day we deal with both small and bigger challenges related to the complexity of the place in which we operate … Palestine and Israel, Arabs and Israelis, Christians and non-Christians … Franciscan spirituality is a wise school of life that allows us all to offer to our children a real workshop of humanity and coexistence, governed not by mere tolerance, but by the true acceptance of the other for who he is, without prejudice and in total freedom.

The presence of two friars, myself as Director and Br. Alessandro as pianist and organist, and of some friars as students, contributes to offer to all, students, teachers and families a climate of fraternity and serenity that we try to guarantee every day. Our experience at Magnificat is very rich and as I said full of challenges, but we are sure that in our own small way, we are offering our children the tools to live with freedom and maturity, with joy and enthusiasm, in a worldwide fraternity that is increasingly diverse and multi-faceted.


Br. Alberto Joan Pari, OFM
Custody of the Holy Land

This article is part of a series profiling the work that friars are doing throughout the world to accompany young people in faith. These stories are only a sample of the ways countless friars walk with young people today.  As we Franciscans prepare for the 2018 Synod of Bishops Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. May these stories inspire all who read them to an ever-deeper commitment to sharing the Joy of the Gospel with our young sisters and brothers.