Summer 2024

Former ESPN editor enters seminary, on verge of becoming Catholic priest

Anthony Federico was working a late night at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT back in 2012. Jeremy Lin was in the midst of “Linsanity” bursting on the scene as a superstar with the New York Knicks and following a loss, at 2:30 in the morning, Federico chose to run a headline ‘Chink in the Armor’ referencing a loss the Knicks has suffered earlier that evening.

With Lin as the talk of the sports world, and ESPN’s website being read by millions, the headline began to take on a life of its own on social media and Federico realized quickly that he had made a terrible choice.

“I went to the bathroom and vomited,” he said at the time to the Washington Post. Soon after, an abundance of enraged people sent emails and tweets to Anthony.

“You’re evil” You’re a racist.” “I’m going to kill your whole family.” These were the type of responses Federico says he received. on twitter, Anthony was fired a day later from his dream job with the Bristol media giant.

“I was let go via conference call,” he said in a video from the Grotto Network. “Since I was fired and had noting to do, I started going to the church in the afternoon, just me and the tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament. I would just kneel in front of that saying, ‘What the hell? Why? Why is this happening?’ It was like the worst 15 minutes of fame.”

In a reply he wrote on twitter immediately after being fired, Anthony said “My solace in this is that ‘all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.’ I praise God equally in the good times and the bad times.”

After taking time to figure out what was next in his life, Federico says he met with a priest and began to think about whether God was calling him into the priesthood.

“There was a growing sense of, ‘Lord, are you calling me to the priesthood right now?’ I was afraid to be honest with you,” he said in the video. “I was afraid of what I was giving up. My mom said something that changed my life. She said, ‘Do it afraid. You need to go experience this to determine one way or the other if this is what you’re going to do with your life. You’re afraid. I get that, but do it afraid.’ When you say ‘yes’ and go one step further, Jesus comes closer to you.”

In 2012, he entered seminary at Theological College at Catholic University in Northeast Washington. Federico has worked in many parishes and with various types of people including patients in hospice, young students and couples preparing for marriage and parenthood. Anthony says he’s close to becoming a priest and is excited to start his new journey.

“I am ready to rock,” he said. “I pray that the Lord’s will is for me to be ordained to the deaconate and then eventually to the priesthood. Put me in. Put me in, coach.”

You can watch the entire story of Anthony Federico on the Grotto Network below. 

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