Sunday, February 10, 2008

Meet the Tertians

A new week begins! I thought I'd start it by introducing you to my fellow tertians and our instructors.

Starting from the top left, Chun Ng is from the Malaysia/Singapore region (this picture comes from his camera, too; thanks, Chun!); he has been working in his region's Jesuit offices and doing retreats. Adrian Lyons, our tertian director, has worked in internal Jesuit administration and as a teacher, a spiritual director and a writer. He's originally from Melbourne. Radek Robak is from Poland, where until recently he had been working in a high school he helped begin.

German Jesuit Ansgar Wiedenhaus came to tertianship after working on the staff of his province's novitiate. Mars Tan, from the Philippines, just finished a degree in environmental engineering, and has also been doing formation work with young Jesuits in Manila. Woo-Bae (pronounced Oo-Bay) Sohn is from South Korea; he'd been working as assistant to the provincial of South Korea previously. And the last guy on the end, Rytis Gurksnys, is from Lithuania. Before he started tertianship, he finished a degree in organization development at Benedictine University in Chicago. Rytis and I were actually ordained deacons together in Cambridge, Mass., in October of 2002.

In the front row, Michael Gilson is a high school teacher from the States; he spent the last five years working at Brophy Prep in Phoenix. Their soccer team just won the state tournament -- Go Broncos! Dennis Recio is also from the California province; he's been teaching literature at the University of San Francisco. Dennis and I have now lived together in three different stages of formation -- a year together in philosophy and two years together in Cambridge at LaFarge House. It's a real blessing to be with someone who knows you so well.

Joseph Sobb, third from left, is from Sydney -- at age 65, he's the oldest tertian in the world right now. I think he might even be the oldest tertian ever. ( Just kidding; Joe's actually the assistant director of the program and the rector of the Canisius College community; his background is scripture studies, teaching, spiritual direction and parish work.) To his right, Raymond Manyanga has been serving as a parish priest in the Eastern African Province. He's from Tanzania. When he smiles you know that all will be right in the world. (see below). Rudi Hartoko has also been working as a parish priest; he's from Indonesia; and I'm the guy in the sweatshirt on the bottom right.

Ray and I, stylin' in our fog-gear hoodies.

All told, the 13 of us represent 10 countries and five continents. Over the last couple weeks, we've spent a lot of time just telling stories about our lives -- where we come from, how we entered the Society, the things we've done and experienced, the worlds we've seen. Each one, a lens on a different part of the world. It's been amazing to listen.

Ray and Mars smile but wonder what the heck I have stuffed in my sweatshirt. (Answer: Chocolate. A lot of it.)