Each summer St. Vincent de Paul Louisville is blessed to welcome young men from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. to our campus. The students, who are training to become Catholic priests and theologians, live at nearby St. Louis Bertrand Catholic Church’s priory for the summer, and all are assigned to various charities in Louisville during their two months here. This year, we are fortunate to work with Brother Frassati and Brother Bartholomew. We thought you would enjoy getting to know them. Brother Frassati, O.P. (Order of Preachers) B.A. in Philosophy from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota 25 years old Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska 1. What have you enjoyed so far about your summer with SVDP? SVDP serves many families with material and social needs, and adjusting to each client has kept me on my toes. Whether shopping with a client at the Food Pantry or playing cards at Tranquil House, I have been nourished by the opportunity to walk with others as Jesus walks with us each day. 2. What, if anything, has surprised you about your work here / and with our clients? The clients at SVDP are willing to share so much about their lives, but are equally interested in what makes me “tick” as a Dominican Brother. I have been pleasantly surprised at what each day brings while working in the diverse social atmosphere of SVDP. 3. When did you know you wanted to become a priest? Was there a defining moment or experience that solidified this desire? As a young Catholic, I thought priests gave homilies on Sundays and then read the bible in their rectories the rest of the week! Once I went off to college, I made a good friend who was also a priest. I was able to see his humanity while also looking up to him as a spiritual father. It hit me like a wrecking ball that God could be calling me to give of my life in this way also! It has been six yeas and I haven’t looked back. 4. Tell us something about your chosen name. I chose the name Frassati because of my devotion to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a 20th-century lay Dominican who enjoyed hiking, swimming, and serving the poor. Coming from a wealthy Italian family, Frassati saved any money his father would give him and donate it to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Turin, being led by his love for Jesus to frequently make home visits. After coming in contact with polio from one of his clients, Frassati died within a week at the age of 24. Although the Lord may not be calling me to die of polio, I still feel compelled to emulate his virtues in living a holy joy in the midst of the many messes and distractions of daily life. 5. Tell us something about yourself. Before joining the Dominicans, I was an avid runner, vocal jazz performer, and lifeguard. I enjoy listening to The Beatles, eating Derby Pie, and meditating on my favorite scripture passage, Romans 12:2. Don’t ask me to bake cookies, but I can make a mean habanero chicken burrito! Brother Bartholomew, O.P. (Order of Preachers) B.A.in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry/Mathematics/ Computer Science Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 25 years old Hometown: Chesapeake, VA 1. What have you enjoyed so far about your summer with SVDP? The most enjoyable part of SVDP is certainly meeting the many different people who we are able to help. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take time and listen to the stories of their lives. Many of them have undergone and are undergoing difficult struggles. Many of them are happy to talk to a brother about God and how He has still been with them in their lives or how they are having trouble finding Him at the moment. 2. What, if anything, has surprised you about your work here / and with our clients? The most surprising thing about working with SVDP was simply the scope of their services. We are helping out with more than half a dozen different programs while we are here, but there are plenty of men and women we still don’t get a chance to meet. SVDP in Louisville has one of the most effective community outreaches I’ve seen of a charitable organization. 3. When did you know you wanted to become a priest? Was there a defining moment or experience that solidified this desire? The vocation to the priesthood came to me gradually over several years. After beginning to establish a prayer life my sophomore year in college, I felt the stirrings of a call to a celibate life dedicated to God. In fact I was attracted to religious life and the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, considering becoming a brother and not being ordained, before I felt the call to the priesthood. It was really the attraction of the Eucharist and the desire to be able to celebrate the Mass daily not only for myself but others as well that was the strongest call to the priesthood. 4. Tell us something about your chosen name. I chose Bartholomew after the Apostle. In the Gospel of John Jesus compliments Nathaniel (another name for Bartholomew) by calling him a true Israelite who has no guile in him. That guilelessness is something I strive for and hope to imitate. 5. Tell us something about yourself. I love to read! I was a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy growing up, but have since come to appreciate even more the portraits that the great novelist can paint of people in classic works like the Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky I’m also an Eagle Scout and love hiking and camping and spending time in the forests and mountains. As far as aspirations go, I’d love to be sent out to the missions! Our (Dominican) province currently has men in Kenya, and I’m trying to learn a bit of Swahili in case I can go.
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