Typically, institutions’ part-time, evening custodians go unnoticed. JPII & SFXP’s Mike McManus has a quiet, unassuming demeanor that virtually guarantees this. He doesn’t make speeches, deliver lectures, win games, or write blog posts. He cleans the restrooms, hallways, and locker rooms in our buildings.
Yet Mike McManus is a man I respect and admire and worthy of our notice.
Mike had worked for over thirty years in public schools when his “brother,” Mr. Ernie, recruited him to come to JPII. Since then, Mike has found the JPII & SFXP atmosphere to be “night and day” in comparison with other settings. “It’s so different here. Students have respect for the school and for you as a person. These kids are great. People recognize you here and you matter. I love coming to this school,” he said.
You may not know Mike’s deep faith and positive attitude — traits that I admire and the source of his strength and humility. Mike’s wife, Donna, suffers from advanced stages of MS. Through this struggle, they have grown closer and share their faith with one another even more deeply. Mike and Donna pray with the gospel of the day each morning and were able to share a pilgrimage to Lourdes several years ago. “God never gives us more that we can handle. He is part of my life, Donna’s life, and our marriage. He gives us our strength.”
I asked Mike how he feels about being less known as evening custodian. “I’m here to serve. That’s what our Lord wants us to do. In my job, I help to keep the school clean so that the teachers and students can have a healthy experience. That’s fine with me.”
Plus, the quiet of evening hours has one more benefit: “I love the Chapel. I feel like He’s there for me. I sit in the Chapel, when the building is empty, and say ‘thank you’.”
Mike McManus is a man worth noticing.1