By Steph Wetzel and Alexis Agee
Father Jack Mattimore is new to the Canisius Community. Although he is originally from Buffalo and spent 15 years as a priest here, he moved back here just before Christmas. He didn’t expect to come back home, though he is glad he was able to.
Prior to coming to Canisius, he was a chaplain at Rikers Island, New York City’s jail. He claimed he enjoyed his experience despite being in the most violent facility. “I liked the people there and they liked me,” he said. “It’s quite a change coming here. I haven’t met any murderers here.”
His provincial, his major superior, asked him to come back to Buffalo. Friends of his have told him the churches in Buffalo are in bad shape and that they need another good priest in the area. His provincial agreed. “He is trying to build Buffalo up for us,” Mattimore said. President Hurley has also been looking for more Jesuits.
Mattimore’s experience at Canisius so far has been going well, though he wishes he felt more connected to the students on campus. “I wish I knew more students and I wish I had fewer meetings and more opportunities to be face to face with students, but with committees and everything else, it’s taking a while to get introduced,” he said.
Mattimore is here at Canisius to work with the Campus Ministry to help connect Canisius students with the Buffalo Community. Along with Campus Ministry he is working alongside Dr. Rockwell at the New Buffalo Institute (NBI). The NBI was initiated by President Hurley as a way to use the college’s resources to help people in the Buffalo community. Many of their current initiatives help develop new ideas for students and their service learning.
An event that Father Mattimore and the rest of campus is planning is Community Day on April 25. The hope for this day is for students, staff and alumni to come together to have breakfast, go out into Buffalo and give their time helping with different services and then come back to campus for a reflection on the work accomplished.
“We are hoping to have as many people participate as possible. This is such an important day for our campus and what it means to have jesuit values,” Mattimore said.
In his time here so far he has become accustomed to the community Canisius has built among their students and staff. Out of all the schools he has worked with before Canisius has proved to make a mark in their community outreach and making their jesuit values known.
Mattimore wants students to know that they are always welcome to stop by and talk with him about anything. He has a great desire to become more connected with the students on campus so he can further his work with Campus Ministry and introduce himself on campus.