NEWINGTON - Annunciation Parish celebrated the ordination of one of its own recently.
Anthony Federico became a transitional deacon in a ceremony witnessed by family, friends and parish members at St. Mary Church, which comprises the parish along with Holy Spirit Church. Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza presided over the mass, during which Federico, 34, pledged his life to the church.
“I had this amazing opportunity to lay prostrate, face down on the marble floor in front of the bishop, a symbol of laying down my life for the church,” he said.
This will be Federico’s second summer at Annunciation. In late August he will return to seminary at the Theological College of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is expected to be ordained as a priest next spring.
“Newington has become like a second home for me,” said Federico, a New Haven native.
His journey into the priesthood has been an exciting one. A former sportswriter and editor at ESPN, Federico returned to his calling later in life. He is now in his last year of school.
“When we heard the ceremony was going to be here everybody was very happy,” the Rev. Shawn Daly said. “It’s unusual for a local parish to have an ordination.”
Such events are typically held in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, according to the pastor, but the accommodations at St. Mary Church building were more than adequate for the several hundred people who attended.
St. Mary merged with the Church of the Holy Spirit last year, during the Archdiocese of Hartford’s pastoral planning process. Daily Mass is now held in the Holy Spirit’s facility on Church Street. Both churches host a Saturday evening Mass and Sunday services every half-hour from 7:30 a.m. to noon the following morning.
“We were two large parishes and now we’re coming together,” Daly said. “It’s going pretty well.”
Over 300 parishioners and others attended a recent comedy night. These types of events help to unite members of both congregations, according to Daly.
“We find if we do things socially it makes the transition smoother,” he explained.
Over 85 teens celebrated their confirmation together this year and 80 children received their first holy communion. Two full-time priests are assigned to the parish, accompanied by two senior priests who are retiring and six deacons, including Federico.
The Rev. Michael Casey, director of vocations of the Archdiocese, is looking forward to welcoming him into the priesthood in 2019.
“I am grateful that Anthony has been open to the call of the Lord to serve him as a priest,” Casey said. “His attentive listening to how God is leading him in the midst of the various moments of his life is an example to follow. The church in Hartford rejoices at his ordination the Diaconate and looks forward to his priestly ordination next year.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.