Caribou native ordained as priest in Portland

This story was published on May 17, 2008 on Page B2 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND – A Caribou native who has worked at a bank, video store and manufacturing plant on Friday added another occupation to his resume – Catholic priest.

Robert Lupo was ordained in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Bishop Richard Malone.

His first assignment as a priest has not been announced.

A few years ago, Lupo, 43, of Portland, would have scoffed at the idea of becoming a Catholic, let alone a priest, according to Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Southern Maine,

As a young adult, Lupo rejected the idea of organized religion. It was through his friendship with a man who became a father figure to him that he changed his mind, according to Bernard.

After the man’s death, Lupo became a Catholic and felt a pull toward the priesthood. He entered the seminary in 2004 and earlier this year graduated from Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass. The seminary was founded to educate men who are entering the priesthood after pursuing other careers.

“I am looking forward to being part of a parish community again and establishing a home,” Lupo said of his life in the priesthood in Maine. “While it will be more difficult to get to know a larger community in the new cluster settings, I’m hopeful about the challenges and opportunities that structure will provide.”

During his time as seminarian and a transitional deacon, Lupo served at St. Thomas and St. David’s in Madawaska, Notre Dame du Mont Carmel in Grand Isle, Corpus Christi in Waterville, St. John’s in Bangor, St. Christopher’s in York, St. Raphael in Kittery, and Our Lady of the Angels in Berwick and South Berwick.

He is thoughtful, according to Bernard, about some of the tasks facing him as a new priest.

“I am anxious about ministering to the sick and dying because it is a time of fear, loss or even anger,” he said. “But my mission will be to meet the people where they are in the grief process and to bring hope to what can be a time of great grace. It will be a huge responsibility but also an honor to share in these important moments.”

The Most Rev. Joseph J. Gerry, bishop emeritus for the diocese, and Monsignor Paul Stefanko, rector of the cathedral, concelebrated at Lupo’s ordination.