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Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus

Fired from ESPN, he’s now on the path to the priesthood

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/03/17

A remarkable vocation story, via The Washington Post:

Within moments, what started as an ordinary late shift in the office at ESPN turned into one of the worst nights of Anthony Federico’s life. Federico lived for the big stories in sports. And the biggest on that night in 2012 was Jeremy Lin, whose remarkable tear in the NBA was making him a sensation not just in New York, where he played for the Knicks, but also abroad, where fans were thrilled to see such a successful Asian player in professional basketball. While Lin was making headlines, Federico, as a journalist at ESPN, was writing them. Federico read a column that night with a critical viewpoint on Lin, and he thoughtlessly penned the headline “Chink in the Armor.” Then the barrage of social media outrage started, and he saw what he had done. “I went to the bathroom and vomited,” he said at the time, describing the sickening realization that he had inadvertently made a racist pun that was now circling the world. What came next was predictable: As angry emails poured in from readers all over the world, Federico was fired from his dream job in sports media. What came after that, however, was not predictable at all. Five years past the night he thought had ruined his life, Federico is on the brink of becoming a Catholic priest. Now, he’s preaching the gospel of second chances. “Looking back, I think God allowed this to happen to me to put me on a path to being a priest, a path that I was avoiding,” said Federico, now 33. “I’ve never been happier.”

His broadcasting skills, it turns out, are being put to good use in his vocation:

“He’s a good communicator. That’s one of the gifts he brings with him,” said the Rev. Jeff Gubbiotti, who as vocation director for the Archdiocese of Hartford is supervising Federico’s training as a priest. “God uses those life experiences as part of the whole journey.” Federico said that when he entered seminary, he explained why he was fired from ESPN, and few people in the Church have ever given him any trouble about it. As Gubbiotti sees it, the incident left Federico better able to empathize with parishioners. “That particular moment of being misunderstood, that was in a very public way. Many of us, I’m sure, experience moments of being misunderstood, moments of feeling let down, and he can speak from the midst of that experience,” he said.

Read it all. 

And check out the video of his story below.

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