Meet the "Missionaries"
In this edition of the Newsletter, we will continue the series of brief profiles and interviews with members of the staff of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN, who can provide a perspective of the work of the Mission “from the inside.” Today we will highlight the the Holy See's recent addition, Polish-born Monsignor Tomasz Grysa, who arrived at the end of August.
Q: What is your role at the mission?
I cover the Second, Third and Sixth committees. I’m still learning and participating in the conferences, debates and negotiations. Typically my day begins with Holy Mass at the Residence, then we come to the office around 8 a.m. The rest of the staff arrives at 9 a.m. and we begin our day with prayer. After our morning staff meeting, we go to our assigned meetings at the UN, write reports, or listen to those who come to our office for meetings.
Q: What is your family background?
I am the first of three children. My father works as a mathematics professor. My mother is a retired French teacher and musician. She taught me piano and taught me French also, and continues to teach her grandchildren. If I weren't a priest, I would probably be a musician, too.
Q: What is your educational and professional background?
I went to music school for secondary school, which would be 7-12 grade here. I studied oboe, along with my general education. Then I went to the seminary and did six years of seminary, but when I was ordained the Archbishop sent me to the Conservatory for Choir Directing. At the same time I was a parochial vicar in a parish in a different city. I did not complete the program because after two years, the Archbishop sent me to Rome for the Diplomatic Academy, and I've followed this path the past 19 years. After four years of studies, I entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 2001. For the past 16 years, I have served in Russia, India and Nepal, Belgium and Luxembourg, Mexico, Brazil and now, the UN.
Q: How has your work corresponded to the expectations you had before you started?
I had no expectations and I am very happy in what I have discovered here at the Mission. It is fascinating and demanding at the same time. I am very happy with my superiors who gave me this opportunity to work in multi-lateral diplomacy.
Q: What has been the most memorable experience in your new role?
The start of the General Assembly in September was a highlight. It was quite amazing to see all the Heads of State and Prime Ministers, as well as our own Secretary of State, gather here. I was experiencing the UN at its highest level.
Q: How was your transition to New York City?
The transition was not difficult. I feel quite comfortable in New York and happy to have the Residence in a quieter area, close to Central Park. I can see not only the busy traffic of the city, but also the normal life of those who live here. On the weekends I leave New York to serve parishes. I serve a few Polish communities, but also celebrate Mass in Spanish and Portuguese when it is needed. It’s a great way to keep from losing the languages.