Bipeds of Brookland: Fr. Fred Close
Fr. Fred Close, the pastor of St Anthony Catholic Church, grew up in Washington, DC and worked 25 years for the Justice Department before he was called to explore the priesthood.
Fr. Fred worked for the Foreign Agents Registration Section, where anyone working for foreign clients doing political fundraising or political advertising had to register with the attorney general. “It was a wonderful education into world politics.” He had an injury which led to an adult conversion “which reoriented my life entirely.” Fr Fred was ordained a priest in 2001 and appreciates the differences of this career. “You have mercy and forgiveness as the connecting point for all the people who fall short of the demands of the law. It is infinitely more satisfying to help people recognize they’re being invited to a change of heart than to throw the book at them and send them off to jail.”
Fr. Fred came to St. Anthony in 2006 and is proud of his long connections to this area. “There are very few of us that are from Washington DC, everybody else is passing through. I’ve got deep roots in this neighborhood. My mother and my aunts all went to Trinity College. St. Anthony has been at the heart of Brookland, the parish has anchored the neighborhood in significant ways right from the beginning. We have religious congregations and people with houses of formation that give a distinctive flavor.”
St. Anthony Parish has partnered with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild which helps provide food to St. Anthony’s Bread, an emergency food pantry. “One way to know the neighborhood is through people who are trying to help people who need it.” The 125th anniversary of the parish is this year. “I’m really excited about that because everybody and I mean everybody has a St. Anthony’s connection. So this September, we’ve invited the Cardinal to celebrate.”
Bipeds of Brookland: A weekly series introducing the people who make Brookland their home, one step at a time. Article and photo by Tom Sabella