BEIT JALA/KORAZIN - Since 1852, about 300 seminarians have been ordained to the priesthood in the two seminaries of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, located respectively in Beit Jala and Korazin (Galilee). Whether they are from the Holy Land or elsewhere, all of them have, over the years, contributed to maintaining and helping the local Christian communities of the Diocese of Jerusalem. Today, on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, established by Pope Paul VI on the 4th Sunday of Easter, which will be celebrated this year on May 8th, lpj.org invites you to discover the profile of five young seminarians of the Latin Patriarchate, all of whom are about to complete their formation.
When did you enter the seminary?
I entered the seminary at the age of 14 and stayed there for three years. Then I went back to my village, where I studied at the Latin Patriarchate school. Two years later, feeling that God wanted me to be there, and also feeling that I would be happier that way, I chose to return to Beit Jala.
Why did you choose the Beit Jala seminary?
The priests of our parish in Zababdeh come from the seminaries of the Latin Patriarchate, so it was a natural fit. But basically, the reason I am happy to be a seminarian in Beit Jala is because it is a seminary for everyone, not limited to one community. It is important for me to be able to address, as a priest, not a specific community, but everyone in the Holy Land, especially those in our diocese or who are part of the communities of the region.
For you, what is the role of a priest?
For me, the primary role of a priest is to be a saint. While each approach is different, while each priest works differently in his role as a guide, in my opinion, we must all seek to achieve, on our own level, a personal form of holiness. Our task is to lead God's people, and that means being in a relationship with Him. It is therefore our duty to always seek to improve this relationship, that is to say, above all, to seek to improve ourselves, according to the word of God.
What made you decide to become a priest?
To be honest, when I entered the seminary, I entered without feeling any particular religious ambition. But with time, by thinking about it, by asking myself questions, and especially by listening to others, more specifically my spiritual advisers and fathers, and of course, to God Himself, I finally heard His call. I understood that He had chosen me, that He was calling me to put myself at His service. It's a bit like university, in fact; you may already be a student, yet you still think about your choices, you hesitate, you don't really know where to go. Then suddenly, with time, it becomes clear.
Of course, everyone, and especially Christians, is called to become a saint, to enter into a relationship with God. And everyone has their own way of doing that. Some will start a family, others will become religious... In my case, the answer was the priesthood. In the end, my goal is the same as everyone else's; the only difference is the path, the way I took.
Do you have any expectations for your future as a priest?
I would like to become a parish priest. For me, this is the most fundamental mission. Of course, the others are just as important and just as necessary; but being a parish priest means working for the salvation of others, for myself, to maintain my relationship with Christ, to glorify Him.