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Andrew Whaley (’05)


While Catholics have pondered what Pope St. John Paul II called “the new evangelization” for decades, Andrew Whaley (’05) has done more than ponder. Through his apostolate Calix, he has developed new and practical methods of proclaiming the Gospel. “We build spaces where, over time and in the natural, organic moves of hospitality, we can earn real relationships in community with people,” he says. “We think that is the normal, organic context for any evangelization and discipleship.”

The spaces that Mr. Whaley builds tend to be coffeehouses, a habit which he cultivated even as the student visionary who spearheaded the creation of the College’s onetime coffee shop in St. Joseph Commons, the Dumb Ox Café. More recently through Calix, he has designed coffeehouses for numerous Catholic institutions nestled in cities and towns, such as the Augustine Institute and Wyoming Catholic College, transforming them into havens for encounters between the sacred and the secular.

What drives this unique approach to evangelization? “TAC set me up with an understanding of how to approach a text with a group, and how to work together, not to be ‘right,’ but to find out what the author is trying to say,” observes Mr. Whaley. “But it was Monsignor Luigi Giussani’s pedagogical vision in The Risk of Education that showed me you can have that same collaborative community without a text, but with reality itself in the middle of the relationship.”

Mr. Whaley envisions strangers bonding first over shared goods, however humble, rather than immediately clashing over the issues that divide them. “I want to create a space where someone who would never walk into a church can say, ‘This is my place and these are my people,’” he says. “You can’t anchor that on transubstantiation or abortion.” Just as the College grounds its pursuit of truth in a community of friends, so sincere debate about complex ideas demands a communal setting, which “missional hospitality” aims to create.

With his years of experience promoting this evangelical vision, it is no surprise that Mr. Whaley is a sought-after speaker for Catholic institutions. His latest engagement is with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where he will teach a five-lesson online class on the principles and practices he has developed for living “missional hospitality” successfully. The class begins on Tuesday, August 1, but for those who are interested, it’s not too late to register!