Father Lou begins final semester at Quinnipiac

Nicole Kurker-Stewart

Upstairs in the Student Center, next to the radio station, is the office of a very important man. His name is Father Lou Evangelisto, and he is the Catholic priest for Quinnipiac University.

Evangelisto took the job here at Quinnipiac in the spring of 1989. However, that was not the beginning of his career. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and French from St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York, he continued his education in theology at Gregorian University, located in Rome. Evangelisto graduated from there in 1954. By 1955 he had a job in an Italian parish located in Waterbury, Conn.

For ten years he worked in the parish until he joined the U.S. Army in 1965 as a chaplain (a priest for the soldiers and their families). While in the army, Evangelisto spent 12 years overseas in places like Germany, Panama and Vietnam.

With past experiences, Evangelisto fully supports the current war on terrorism.

“I support our troops first and foremost. They need to know America is backing them,” Evangelisto said. “I believe everyone owes two years of service to their nation.”

For these reasons, he supports Bush’s war whole-heartedly.

Evangelisto ended up at Quinnipiac because a job was being offered here. He took the job in part because of his love of young adults.

“I had just worked in the army for 23 years and I liked working with teenagers. The mindset of the students here is the same as the mindset of those in the army,” Evangelisto said.

He felt there was a need for a priest at the college. When asked why he became a priest, Evangelisto said, “I originally wanted to go into radio broadcasting. But by the end of my first year of college, I just felt [practicing faith] was something I needed to do.”

He decided to become a priest in the early 1950s.

“At the time, everyone had a definite place in society; priests were essential to the community,” Evangelisto said.

To this day, a weekly service is held with anywhere from 150 to 400 people in attendance.

“Unfortunately, Quinnipiac has no chapel,” Evangelisto said. “There is no locus [place] for students to meditate.”

Nonetheless, Evangelisto continues to help people figure out their beliefs and organize their thoughts, sometimes right from his office.

“My office is a safe place where students can come to talk about things they usually can’t: big topics, like abortion and death.”

This will be Evangelisto’s last year on campus. The archdiocese in Hartford, that employs him, requires that priests stop working at age 75. Evangelisto will retire next year, and will be missed by many students. But retirement does not mean an end for the clergyman.

“I’m thinking of starting up a pub after I retire,” Evangelisto said, with a smile.