Brothers win the race: Profile of Brother Rafael Vargas, S.D.B.

Whether you call him Raf, Rafy, Raffa, or Rafita—he answers to them all—“Brother” is a name that will always suit Rafael Vargas, S.D.B. He took his final vows to be a Salesian brother in 2021. Growing up a first-generation Puerto Rican in New Jersey, he wanted to pour his energy into running, all the way to the Olympics and a professional career. He’s still plenty athletic, but new passions have emerged. “My first love is serving youth,” he says, the focus of his religious community’s network of schools and programs.

Brother Rafael Vargas, S.D.B.

(Photo courtesy of the Salesians of St. John Bosco)

How did you meet your community?

I first met the Salesians when I attended Don Bosco Prep High School, where I was able to be fully surrounded by the Salesian spirit and family environment. I entered the community right after high school.

Your favorite way to pray?

I enjoy using Christian and instrumental music to help me reflect, meditate, and give praise.

Best ministry experience so far?

A summer in one of our communities in Juarez, Mexico. In addition to being able to work with poor youth, I had the opportunity to serve twice a week in a juvenile detention center.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

One of my random hobbies is all types of dancing, especially breakdancing.

The best parts of community life?

The witness of the other members is a source of motivation, and the fellowship we share is a huge support, including informal moments where we can simply be ourselves around each other.




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