Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Month in the Philippines

It's been too long since I updated -- my apologies to those of you who have been checking in regularly! I'm a bit limited right now in my ability to incorporate my own photos on this blog, but that no reason for me not to write up an update. Here goes . . .

Hard to believe that I've been in the Philippines for one month already. I arrived here exactly one month ago today. Six more months will fly by, I have a feeling! The rainy season has been just that -- rainy! It rains every day and every night -- downpours usually in the afternoon and late at night. The afternoon precip does a lot to cool the temps after the tropical sun heats things up in the mornings. Tropical vegetation seems to thrive on neglect here! Lots of sun, lots of rain -- what more does a tropical plant need?

The tertianship program continues to go very well. We've spent the last two weeks presenting our personal life histories. Each of us has given two presentations -- the first on our life from birth to the beginnings of our Jesuit vocation, and the second on our life in the Society of Jesus. It's been a profound experience to prayerfully reflect upon my life and to hear the reflections of my fellow tertians on their own life experiences. Our experiences of life before and since we entered the Jesuits are as varied as the countries we come from. Many have done doctoral work in fields such as communications, pastoral ministry, economics, and Islamic studies. Many of us shared experiences of living with and serving the poor and marginalized of our respective countries. One has done extensive work with refugees in East Africa. Another has done worked with the Jesuits in China, which is largely an "underground" operation in that country. Still another has worked with tribal peoples in southern India. Needless to say, we have a lot to share with each other about how God has led us in our lives as Jesuits, and to do so in a prayeful way is indeed a gift.

Fortunately, I'm able to keep in close contact with my cousins Aurora and Tina and their families, as well as my Uncle Bob and Aunt Tonette, as they all live close by in Quezon City. Au (Aurora's knickname) has been particularly gracious in taking me out to sample Philippine cuisine around town. For those of you who know what "balut" is, don't you worry. I'm keeping clear of that! Inculturation does have its limits, even for this hardy Jesuit!

This coming week, we tertians enter into an immersion experience with poor families in the town of Navotas, just north of Manila. We will be placed with two separate families, living for four days with each family in their home, in an effort to get to know the joys and struggles of Filipino families in this economically depressed community. While we don't know completely what to expect, we enter into this experience with opennenss. I'll fill you in on my own experiences in Navotas in my next update.

Thanks, as always, for your continued thoughts and prayers. Be assured of mine for you!


bkelley said...

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the latest update. You are having so many rich experiences. I'm particularly interested in the huge variety of life and ministry experiences you and your fellow tertians have had. How lucky, too, that you are getting to know your far-flung family so well.


Kevin Donoughe said...

Hey, Father...

Hope all is well across the globe. It's great to have this blog to read about your experiences! I'm sure you are missed at St. Ignatius, but you have much to offer your fellow tertians. Praying for you.

Peace and happiness