In Service of God: Interview of Bro. David Iovacchini, SDB

17 Jan 2019

In Service of God: Interviews of Some of Our Elder SDBs

Bro. David Iovacchini, SDB

photo credit: Nadine Skelton.

By Jennifer Kennymore

Jen Kennymore served as a Salesian Lay Missioner at Mary Help of Christians in Tampa in 2014-2016. At that time she conducted a series of interviews with our elder Salesians at St. Philip the Apostle Residence, some of which we were able to publish in E-Service. Lili DeGrasse, executive assistant of Mary Help’s director, has forwarded one that wasn’t published in that series.

(Tampa, Fla.) – Brother Dave Iovacchini has been a Salesian since 1961. He’s 77 years old and is hoping to have at least 23 more good years! Brother Dave grew up in Philadelphia. While he was growing up, he always wanted to be a brother or part of religious life. He and his two brothers were orphaned when they were young, so he was raised by various Catholic institutions instead of his family.

He was with the St. Vincent de Paul Sisters until he was about nine years old. Then he went to St. Edward’s Home for Crippled Children until he was about eleven. After that he went to live in a foster home with an Italian couple for a while. When they needed to help their family in other ways, Brother Dave was given back to the Catholic Bureau. At that point he was too old to go back to St. Edward’s, so he went to St. Joseph’s Home for Homeless and Industrious Boys.

It was at St. Joseph’s that Brother Dave first started learning about shoe repair by working in a local shoe shop. This training was beneficial throughout his time as a Salesian.

At St. Joseph’s the boys would have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off to do what they wanted. There would often be dances, and as he got older, Brother Dave would help monitor the dances. He enjoyed watching the priests make sure the kids were on their best behavior.

During his time at St. Joseph’s, Fr. Brown advised Brother Dave and helped him look into various orders for religious life. He visited Don Bosco Seminary in Newton, N.J., quite a few times under Fr. Brown’s direction. Eventually, what attracted Brother Dave to the Salesians was the family spirit.

Throughout his Son of Mary (candidacy) year, he worked in the shoe shop in Newton. At the end of that year, he was accepted into the novitiate. After his formation, he worked in the house of formation at Newton for about 20 years. His role while there was doing shoe repair and helping at the all-boy summer camps that took place for about two months each summer.

After that, he moved to St. Anthony’s Parish in Elizabeth, N.J., for about five years. Then he worked in Ipswich, Mass., at a retreat house. While there, he helped conduct retreats and was also able to walk around the property often. He also worked on getting his GED and started on his Associate’s degree. After that, he went to Columbus, Ohio, to finish his Associate’s degree in general studies. He also tutored young students at Salesian Boys & Girls Club during that time.

He came to St. Philip Residence in Tampa in 2003. In his spare time Brother Dave likes to read. He reads whatever he can get his hands on. He likes learning about new things through reading. Some of his favorite advice or sayings are: “Don’t worry so much, sufficient for today are the troubles thereof.” “Don’t be afraid.” “The end is the most important.” “We’re born to die so that we can be raised.”