Each summer St. Vincent de Paul welcomes to our campus two men from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., who are studying for the priesthood. They arrive seeking pastoral experience and are eager to learn more about our mission of service to the poor and homeless. (Left to right) Brothers Justin and Norbert are now ending their time with us, but earlier this summer, they answered a few get-to-know-you questions for our monthly newsletter, the ‘Good Samaritan.’
Br. Justin Mary Bolger, O.P.
Hometown: Frederick, MD
Education: B.A. in Business, University of Baltimore; M.A. in Philosophy, Mt. St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD
Q: Have you had experience working with the poor and homeless?
A: I have worked with homeless before but never on a regular schedule like this (Monday-Thursday). And though I had heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps, I did not have an in-depth knowledge of the program, nor have I worked directly with recovering alcoholics or drug addicts. I am impressed by how the programs here cover many different needs.
Q: What do you find to be the more fulfilling aspects of yoursummer experience here?
A: Working with those recovering from alcohol and drug addiction has been a great experience thus far. I am touched by the humility of those I work with, and by the abiding faith I sense in them. There is an acute realization among many of the clients that God is real, wants to heal us, and wants to be the foundation of our lives.
Q: What are your goals for yoursummer at SVDP?
A: Since we are studying to be priests, a general goal…is to experience what it means to pastor others. That is, we should have some quality ministry experiences where we can share some of our gifts and also experience what others—especially those who are suffering—go through on a firsthand level. We are also learning how Catholic social institutions like St. Vincent dePaul fulfill Christ’s command to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and house the poor. That is, we are doing works of mercy, which is something all Christians are called to do.
Br. Norbert Kelliher, O.P.
Hometown: Indianola, WA
Education: B.A., Harvard
Q: Fulfilling aspects?
A: We are working with men in a 12-Step recovery program and have gotten the chance to know them individually. I thought I would be working with different clients each day, but this summer is a great chance to work more in-depth with the men. Their humility and willingness to accept help from God and the recovery program is a gift to witness.
Q: General goals this summer?
A: My goal is to learn as much as Ican about the programs St. Vincent de Paul runs and the people it serves. I want to be comfortable talking to the homeless in the future and know how to direct them to resources. I also want to know the 12-Step process well enough to recommend it to alcoholics and addicts that I may meet in the future.