Seminarians close books for the summer

Floor cleaning is one of seminarian Thomas Elliott’s duties while working at The Lord’s Diner this summer. Photo below, seminarian Colby McKee sorts cheese in the Diner’s walk-in refrigerator. Video is also below. (Advance photos)

Two members of St. Joseph House of Formation working at the Diner

Two seminarians studying for the Diocese of Wichita are putting their studies into philosophy to work.

Thomas Elliott, a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Wichita, and Colby McKee, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Wichita, are undertaking a variety of tasks at The Lord’s Diner while learning the true meaning of Jesus’ words: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

“I’m helping out wherever I can,” Elliott said. “In the evenings, when they’re serving meals, I’m usually on that. During the days I’m sometimes helping with kitchens, sometimes doing some maintenance work, sometimes just cleaning – kind of whatever they need me for.”

Colby McKee

Elliott, who lives in the St. Joseph House of Formation on the St. Joseph Parish campus in Wichita, said he is excited to see how the rest of the summer turns out.

Colby McKee

“It’s more of a direct glimpse of service that sometimes we don’t get into in school,” he said. “I’ve been reflecting how it is allowing me to find Christ in the other person and kind of go out of my way to search for his presence there and to be able to serve Him as opposed to just thinking of it as a duty.”

McKee, who also resides at the House of Formation, has been working on the Diner’s food trucks, handing out meals at the diner, serving beverages, and wherever else he is needed.

He said his duties have allowed him to get to know the patrons of the Diner as he serves them.

“It helps me to value the homeless more because it’s really easy for me to just walk by someone and not really do anything,” he said. “It’s a really good opportunity to serve them, to value them more, and give to them.”

McKee said his interaction with the patrons has resulted in a spiritual connection with those he meets. “It’s an awesome opportunity to be more intentional with my prayer for them.”

Both seminarians are beginning their third year of college at Newman University studying for a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. After they graduate from Newman they will begin studies for master’s degrees in theology at a university chosen by the bishop.