New deacons urged to be solid, humble and living blocks of the Church

Nine Jesuits from three countries in the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) were ordained deacons on October 28, the feast of Saints Simon and Jude.  The new deacons who come from Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines were ordained by Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro Antonio Ledesma SJ in the Church of the Gesù, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.

In his homily, Archbishop Ledesma urged the newly ordained deacons to be faithful in the face of challenges and adversities while remaining humble witnesses of Christ in the world. He likened them to the Interlocking Compressed Earth Blocks (ICEB) used in the construction of permanent shelters for the typhoon-ravaged communities in Cagayan de Oro in 2011. The ICEB technology was chosen because it was durable, cost-efficient and solid, he said.

The deacons ought to be interlocking in the sense that they must promote communion in the Church; compressed, which point to the years of solid Jesuit formation; humble because they come from the earth, rooted in local cultures and local churches; and, finally, living blocks who stand not alone but in solidarity with others in building the Church.

Speaking on behalf of the newly ordained deacons, Vietnamese Jesuit Pham Cong Tung asked the congregation to “please pray for us so that we will be faithful servants of God in the church”.

The new deacons are currently finishing their theology studies at the Loyola School of Theology and Ateneo de Manila University. All but the two Filipinos live in Arrupe International Residence.

Main image front row from left:

Anthony Nguyen Ngoc Triem SJ, 37, is from the Nghe An province of Vietnam. He studied Bachelor of Law at Hue University of Science, where he became a member of the Christian Life Community. He was admitted to the Sacred Heart Novitiate in 2006 and studied philosophy at St Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate. During regency, he served as assistant to the Secretary of the Province and later assistant to the Director of the Candidacy House in Vietnam.

Lee Huen Kwan John SJ, 37, studied biology at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After graduation, he joined the Society of Jesus in 2008, studied philosophy and theology at Sogang University and earned his master’s degree in philosophy. He did his regency in Sogang as a campus minister. After finishing his regency, he moved to the Philippines to continue his theology studies and to earn another master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Jung Hoikang Peter SJ, 35, was born in Kwangju, South Korea. He joined the Korean Province in 2008 after graduating from college. He studied philosophy and theology at Sogang University, and was assigned to the youth ministry for his regency.

Firmo Nives Bargayo Jr SJ, 38, is from General Santos City, Philippines. He has a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the Mindanao State University-General Santos City and was a full-time missionary of the Youth for Christ charismatic community prior to joining the Society of Jesus in 2006. For regency, he worked with the Jesuit Service Cambodia and served as adviser of the Rural Development Ang Snoul. Returning from regency, he was appointed the Associate Director of Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan based in the Loyola House of Studies. He is finishing his MA in Theological Studies at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Jereme Ibale Asunto SJ, 36, hails from Bohol, Philippines and has a degree in Business Management from the University of the Philippines – Cebu. He entered the Sacred Heart Novitiate in 2007. His past assignments include teaching at the Miriam Adult Education Program of Miriam College and staff member of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan. He did regency at Ateneo de Zamboanga University where he taught Christian Living to high school students. He is finishing his STB at the Loyola School of Theology and Masters in Theological Studies at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Hyunbai Joseph Han SJ, 36, was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Toronto, Canada. He studied economics at York University in Toronto. In 2008, Hyunbai joined the Korea province of the Society Jesus. After his novitiate in St Stanislaus Kostka, Suwon, Hyunbai studied philosophy and theology for three years at Sogang University and spent two years in Banteay Prieb in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for regency. He did his first two years of theology at Sogang University before going to the Philippines to finish theology at Loyola School of Theology.

Lucien Emil Susantha SJ, 34, is from Sri Lanka. He joined the Society of Jesus in 2005. After finishing the novitiate in 2009 in Daham Sihila, he studied philosophy at Ampitiya National Seminary. He learned Carnatic music for two years while doing his regency.

Pham Cong Tung SJ, 33, is from the Dongnai province of Vietnam. He studied Oriental Studies in Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Saigon, Vietnam. He entered the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Thu-duc, Saigon in 2006. After three years of studying philosophy at St Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate, he served as Assistant to the Minister and then Minister of Sacred Heart Novitiate for two years during his regency.

Kim, Ju-chan SJ, 40, was born and raised in Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. He studied Electrical Engineering at Kyeongnam University (BS) and at Pusan National University (MS). Prior to joining the Society of Jesus in 2008, he worked for Korea Automotive Research Institute as a research engineer.