“I returned from France because my Church and my land are here”
Are you involved in the life of your Church and how?
After having spent three years in France during my studies, I sensed a kind of vocation to return to the Holy Land and to be involved in the life of my Church. This is not a political question but rather one of spiritual identity. My Church, my land are here. It is important to contribute and not only be a passive receiver. Thus, I bring my stone to the building up of the Church through my professional capacities. I worked for five years with the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land and a short time ago I became program director at the Tantur Ecumenical Center. These two positions have allowed and continue to allow me to discover the richness of our Church and to give perspective to the ways in which one might help people to progress in the spiritual life. Officially, my parish belongs to the Melkite (Greek Catholic) Church in Jerusalem but I also frequent the Jesuits… I did not come from a very practicing family but the arrival of our child poses the question about what we would like to bequeath to this child.
Do you think that the Church needs to evolve? And in which aspects?
I also work with young people and I always found among them a thirst for new discoveries and change, which is not always easy to respond to. I think that we need to listen to young people ever more attentively in order to give them the place they deserve. They also have something to say, face challenges and show a real desire to make their contribution.
What do you expect from the Church? What should the Church do to serve the people here?
For me, the Church must fill the spiritual void, created by our lives lived at 100 km per hour. We think of nothing but work and that is understandable as we want to feed our families. However, the Church must not fall into this trap. People need someone to stop them and tell them, “Let us take a break and reflect on our lives’. This is something that is really missing in the Holy Land: to take the time, to have a period of reflection on our society, as much on the spiritual level as on the social one. We do not question enough the role of material things in our lives or the role of time.
What dreams do you have for the Church?
That the Church would be ever more accessible to the people. Because of my profession, I have met a great number of people, who, even if they have a Christian culture, have almost no relationship with the Church. Here, it is the greatand imposing institutions that might often intimidate some. We need perhaps to rethink this relationship in order to create more familiarity. During my stay in France, I was impressed by the homilies that were heartfelt and by the fantastic welcome… This would be a good starting point.
Interview by Cécile Lemoine
Job: program director at the Tantur Ecumenical Center