Bro. Jack Ventura, SM, Director of Mission Integration and Ministry Lead for the Marianist Family Encounter Project at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory, Hollywood, FL, sends us this update.
When Pope Francis unveiled the main lines of the Global Pact on Education, he opened a new era in the world of education. The Pope had already invited the whole Church to set out on a missionary “journey” and to be a community that knows how to take initiative. In accepting this challenge of Pope Francis and utilizing our Marianist understanding of “radical hospitality,” Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory is very proud and happy to initiate a cultural exchange experience for two new faculty members. Junreyglen (Glen) Briones and Ernest San Jose came to us from the Philippines. Glen and Ernest have committed to a five-year cultural experience of working and living in the United States.
Glen Briones was born and raised in Davao, Philippines. He has three sisters and is the second child. Glen is very proud of his Visayan heritage, which has shaped his cultural identity and values. Glen is married and describes his wife as the cornerstone of his happiness.
Glen attended the Minor seminary at the Rogationist Academy in Davao and continued his studies at Rogationist Seminary College in Cebu, where he was awarded a degree in Philosophy. Glen also holds a master’s degree in theology from the Ignatian Institute of Religious Education Foundation. Leaving seminary studies to pursue a different path to living his Christian vocation has provided him with new experiences and perspectives that challenged and enriched his understanding of himself.
Glen started his teaching career at St. Peter’s College of Toril and was a college instructor at the University of the Immaculate Conception. Glen taught at Ateneo de Davao University (Senior High School) for the last seven years. In asking Glen why he decided to embark on this cultural exchange, he says, “I was driven by a profound desire for personal and professional growth. I had always been intrigued by venturing into the unknown, particularly American culture, to gain a deeper understanding of the world and learn from its diversity. Embracing the unknown and learning from it, I will emerge from this experience as a more resilient, open-minded, and culturally aware individual.”
Glen enjoys the simplicity of everyday moments. He enjoys nature, hiking, country music, and reading. His favorite pastime is fishing, and he is convinced he has a telepathic connection with these underwater creatures, having chats about life and all things aquatic.
Ernest San Jose
Ernest was born in Makati City, the financial center of the Philippines. His father is a world-renowned geologist specializing in oil exploration; his mother was a senior financial manager before she retired. Ernest has three brothers and comes from a very devoted Catholic family.
Ernest spent a significant portion of his life as a Passionist seminarian. During his time with the Passionists, he obtained his degree in Philosophy from Notre Dame University of Marbel. Ernest continued his education and received a master’s degree in theology with a concentration in Religious Education from the Holy Cross in Davao City. He also attended the Jesuit School of Theology, a Pontifical School.
After leaving the seminary, Ernest entered the BPO (business processing outsourcing) industry serving American clients. While initially Ernest found this new employment fulfilling, he was encouraged by relatives and his seminary formators to pursue teaching, viewing this as a means to future his spiritual development. With the advice of one of his aunts, he joined the University of the Immaculate Conception, where he met Glen.
Ernest also spent the last seven years teaching at Ateneo de Davao University (Senior High School). Ernest served as Department Chair for Theology. Ernest found his time at Ateneo nothing short of transformative. However, the onset of the pandemic triggered a pressing need for personal growth. “I yearned for an environment that would nurture my individual development, fostering the acquisition of new knowledge, exposure to diverse places, and embracing novel experiences.” In sharing his sentiments with Glen, Ernest realized Glen was also embarking on a similar quest. Glen informed Ernest of an opening at CMCP, accepted the opportunity, and did not hesitate to apply for the theology position.
Ernest admits that coming to America is a great challenge, bidding farewell to cherished echoes of familiarity. However, Ernest sees this challenge as the same feeling that pulses through the souls of those beckoned by God to embark on His sacred mission. “For in venturing beyond the hearth, one buds into a greater version of self, a blossoming teacher, a deepening soul. Crossing the threshold, we immerse ourselves in kaleidoscopic cultures, each a symphony of existence. Departing home is not a mere farewell but a tender invitation to a grander voyage of heart and spirit.
In asking Ernest why he decided to come to work at CMCP, he recounts countless fellow Filipinos who share a common aspiration to leave their homeland to help with the financial needs of the families who remain in the Philippines and to nurture the dreams they hold dear. He also talks about “a profound longing to shatter the confines of the cocoon.” Ernest proudly admits he needs fresh soil to nurture his growth as a child of God. This yearning has led him to CMCP, allowing him to bridge cultures and share the vibrant mosaic of his heritage with those eager to embrace its richness and diversity.
We welcome Glen and Ernest into our Marianist Educational Community and look forward to them embracing our Marianist Mission at Chaminade-Madonna.
Pictured above: Glen Briones (right) and Ernest San Jose (left)