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Bio express

Age: 44 years

Occupation: Assistant in the parish of Fuheis

City: Fuheis, Jordan

Denomination: Melkite

Rula

"The Church must go beyond empty speeches”

How would you describe your relationship with the Church?

The Church is my family. The challenges faced by the Church are also my challenges. I met the Focolare Movement when I was a teenager. What attracted me was the simplicity of the relationships. They help to reproduce the simplicity of the Holy Family. The relationship between Jesus, Mary and Joseph is something we can live in our daily lives. 

 

According to you, what are the major problems faced by the Church today?

I would not call them problems, but rather challenges, because they are opportunities to grow and become better Christians. We need to focus on the new generations and create a relationship with them. In order to do that, we need to understand why they don't come to church or to activities anymore. This was my experience in Jordan. I worked with a group of young people and they told me that the church was not necessarily a place where they came to have fun because they had other places to do it. They come for something else. Deeper. Something more spiritual. If they feel like they are being spoken to in that way, I think they will come. Parishes should work on becoming families and nurturing the connections between them. Another problem is that people don't know much about religion and faith because they haven't been taught well. This keeps them away from religious practice.

 

As a Jordanian, do you feel represented by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem?

I am from the Melkite Church. If we look at history, the Latin Church did not have a patriarch until the 19th century. In the Eastern churches, the patriarch is defined as "the first among the first". He is the first to love, to serve, among the bishops. I think a lot would change if the patriarchs would start working together. It would help the Middle East.

 

What is it like to be a Christian in Jordan?

As Christians, we are respected. We are an effective part of society, we have the same rights. However, we have some problems. For example, we do not have vacations for Easter.

 

What do you dream of for the Church?

I would like everyone to appreciate each other for what they are, and to stop asking others to become like themselves. I am thinking in particular of the relations between the different churches. We must go beyond empty speeches and try to understand each other through history in order to move forward and build a relationship of love together.

Interview by Cécile Lemoine