Cana of Galilee: work in progress for the new Holy Land School | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Cana of Galilee: work in progress for the new Holy Land School

“Here are the stairs that will lead to the school and the porter’s lode will be here, to check the entrances.” Fr. Haitham Franso Yalda Hano, parish priest of the Latin church of Cana, already has in mind what the future Holy Land School of the Galilee village will be like and describes it like this, carefully making his way through the building site. It will be inaugurated in 2023 and will be a secondary school concentrating on scientific subjects for the students from Cana (in Arabic Kafr Kanna), but also the neighbouring towns. The village of Galilee – which has about three thousand Christian families, of whom 1700 are Latins -  is famous for being the place where there is the shrine of the first miracle performed by Jesus, guarded by the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land since 1641. 

After years of planning, the first important results of the works to build a new school run by the Franciscans can be seen. The outer structure has been completed.  From outside, it is possible to see the impressive building divided into two wings, covering three floors. The part on the left will have  theatre and a hall for sports activities, which can also be used outside school hours for the  activities of the nearby Latin parish of Cana. 

It has been thanks to the donations of the Pro Terra Sancta collection and private donors, that a new school, at the service of the local community, could start to be planned. “In 2020 we received a very generous donation from the Hungarian government,  which allowed us to resume the works,” explains  Fr. Haitham, who is following the project. “The students from the nearby school of the Franciscan nuns (which has classes up to the intermediate level) will thus be able to continue their studies at a school nearby, from the ninth class to the twelfth one (from the ages of 14 to 18).”

On the building site, the new spaces which will house the future students are slowly being outlined: the classrooms with electronic boards, the courtyard for assemblies, the sports field, the gym, the administrative offices, the laboratories for physics and chemistry, the theatre, the cafeteria on the top floor of the building with  breath-taking views. 

“We are expecting about two hundred or two hundred and fifty students,” continues Fr. Haitham “We hope it can be an example of a school for the others, because we are working so that everything can be built with modern criteria and in safety.” 

Anton Hanna and Samer Falah have run the company contracted for the work since the very start of the project. “The first stone was laid in 2015, but the work stopped in 2017. Awe signed another contract in February 2020 and then we started the work again in October 2020. The goal is to conclude in early 2022.” The company, which works in many churches in the Holy Land, has ensured in the part restorations of other Holy Places, such as the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the church of Mount Tabor, that of the Primacy in Tabgha, and the recently restored church in Nain. Anton Hanna concludes: “When we did a test to check whether the wiring works and all the lights went on, I saw a good result and I was satisfied, because soon this place will start to shine.”


Beatrice Guarrera