Jerusalem : a new Prior for St Stephen’s Convent
JERUSALEM – Fr Martin Staszak was elected Prior of the Dominican Community of St Stephen’s Convent on 5 October. His election was confirmed by the Master of the Order and accepted by the new Prior on Wednesday morning.
Fr Martin Staszak joined the Order of the Preachers in 1978. Following studies in Theology and a Biblical diploma, he went to specialize in the law of the Old Testament. Author of several articles on the exegesis of the Old Testament, he gave courses this year on King Solomon and the wars of Israel against the Arameans.
What was your reaction following the result of this election?
I was a bit surprised that I was on my Superiors thoughts of course, but I am very delighted to take charge of this duty and of the community.
Can you tell us about your projects for the community? What challenges would you expect?
It is still too early to talk about projects. The house and the school have much to tell about their past. I should think now of the future of the house under the prevailing conditions, combining Human Sciences with Theology. We should be efficient in our actions, gather forces of the community in the same synergy. We are now busy preparing for the Jubilee of 125 years for the Biblical School, as well as eight centenaries for the Order of Preachers.
The community, used to a certain pattern of work, should consider what contribution to offer to the Holy Land in order to become more useful.
What is the present situation of your community?
We have a community which grows younger, with many young friars. The main challenge is to keep and develop unity in order to create a genuine “life community”.
My predecessor Fr Guy had set many projects in the right path which I should complete with the help of friars who will come to set up and reinforce Biblical School teams. We shall jointly set up working teams in different fields and start a process of reflection to reinforce community roots.
What is your feeling regarding the upsurge of tension over the last days in the Holy Land, more especially in Jerusalem?
Jerusalem, the Holy City, is experiencing at present a distressing situation. We are foreigners here, and have therefore limited possibilities. However, we can pray for the Holy Land and also start a dialogue that is necessary through teams of Israeli and Palestinians researchers who work with us.
Data compiled by Thomas Charrière