March 26, 2015 — As guests filed in to the Morning Glory Café for the homeless in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, on a recent morning, they were met with smiles from three young Jesuits. Novices Chris McCoy, William Manaker and Matt Hearley, in the early years of Jesuit formation, were in Kansas City serving the poor and the homeless as part of their novitiate experiments.
Hearley and McCoy, both from Denver, and Manaker, a native of Washington, D.C., entered the Society as novices last September.
Hearley said he liked that Jesuits supply “more than just spiritual care.” They “are contemplatives in action,” he said. “They are spiritual, yet serve the people. Every Jesuit I’ve met or known are real, approachable people. Besides, I’m a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora [Colorado]. I know a lot of Jesuits and the order attracted me.”
The three novices are spending much of their time in the urban cores of both Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. They are working part-time at schools, singing in choirs, promoting vocations at Rockhurst University and Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri, and visiting prisoners. They also assist at Mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Kansas City, Kansas.
Jesuit Father Mark Thibodeaux, novice director for Jesuits in formation at St. Stanislaus Kostka Novitiate in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, said that following their time in Kansas City, Hearley, McCoy and Manaker will embark on separate pilgrimages. They must rely on the kindness of strangers and beg for food, shelter and transportation during the two weeks they will be away from the novitiate. The experience of homelessness and hunger helps build empathy for those in need.
As the novices helped clean up after breakfast, Karen Miller, director of Morning Glory Ministries, said that the three young men were so friendly and kind that even Morning Glory Café guests who were standoffish or shy smiled and chatted with them. “We love having them and Father Mark,” she said. [Source: The Catholic Key]