For years, Louise would go to the St. Anthony Shrine in Boston to pray for her youngest son, who had drifted away from the Catholic teachings of his childhood. Today, an usher at the door of the church hands the 91-year-old woman a program that reads “Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood.”
Inside is the name “Anthony T. Cipolle.”
He has taken an untraditional path to the priesthood through multiple careers, fatherhood, a marriage and an annulment. He spent decades away from the church, and another 10 years studying to prepare for this moment. And now, as his mother is settling into her pew, Anthony is standing in front of the closet in the sacristy, the room where priests prepare for worship.
All around him, priests and deacons and altar servers are pulling robes over their heads. Anthony presses the fabric of his own simple white alb to his face and prays for purity. He puts the robe on over his black-and-white clerical collar.