I have been able to step into several different roles during my first two weeks at André House. These roles range from washing dishes, sorting donated clothing and helping with dinner distribution. My favorite role so far has been Porter Duty, a simple assignment that includes a very wide range of tasks. André House guests approach the porter station to obtain things like tooth brushes, soap, sunscreen, socks, ice, laundry detergent and other small items that can go a long way to help them meet some of their needs. I enjoy porter duty because this assignment is where I have been able to meet and get to know the guests at Andre Housé. Some are just as new to André House as I am, while others know more about André House than I could ever learn during my brief time here. The experience of being porter has not only given me the chance to learn our guests’ names but also it has given me many chances to hear their stories and share my own vocation journey with them. In some ways, being the porter has allowed the guests to welcome me to André House, to the place where some have been coming for years. The porter role has helped me to see and experience the common humanity that we all have because we are all made in God’s image and likeness.
Despite all of these positive aspects of being the porter at André House, the role does have its difficulties. Sometimes the difficulty just happens because I am still learning the ropes. A simple request might take me longer because I don’t know where something is. I occasionally have to say No to a request and when our guests ask for things, they are in a desperate situation and do not have other ways of obtaining their item in need. There are occasions when I make a conversation more difficult by not being as patient and gentle as I should be when having to say No to a request. A line from one of Fr. Dan’s (the Director of André House) daily Mass homilies stood out to me when reflecting on the ways that I can sometimes come up short in serving our guests. God doesn’t call us to do everything, God calls us to love and serve others in the best way that we can. I am not God, but with his help, I can love and serve the guests at André House to help make God known, loved and served.
Ed Dolphin, C.S.C., is in his first year as a professed seminarian with the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers. He is from Wilmington, Delaware, and is placed at Holy Cross Novitiate until the fall. Before discerning with Holy Cross, he attended Drexel University where he majored in Information Systems.