19 God called…and they answered! - Karen Laurie

posted Jan 22, 2019, 1:51 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 1:52 AM ]
Three new Salesian priests recount how God tugged at their hearts.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, welcomed three new priests, Fr Rudolf D'Souza (37), Fr Justus Mendis (31), and Fr Sunil Pinto (29) into the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Holy Orders at the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, Matunga, Mumbai on December 22, 2018.

"Jesus calls each one differently. Some like Saint Paul, he actually drops off a horse and rubs it into them that He is the one who calls them for greater things. For others, like Saint Matthew, a profound look of compassion and a simple 'Follow me' is all it takes for a man to give up his possessions and follow the Lord. Mine has been no extraordinary journey, but a feeling that snowballed into a desire that further developed into a conviction," said Fr Pinto.

Fr Pinto felt attracted to the priesthood as a young altar server in Mumbai. "As a child, I was aware of the respect priests received, the grandeur of their vestments, the reverence with which they celebrated Holy Mass. What also contributed was that my parents, grandmothers, catechism teachers spoke highly of the religious," said Fr Pinto. "My mum prayed for me to become a priest. She wanted one of her children to become a religious."

"My family would visit the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna quite often, as we were devotees. On one occasion – while I was in kindergarten – I was playing in the Shrine office, when Fr Aurelius Maschio, the then Shrine in-charge, who was seated behind his desk, called me and said, 'You will be here one day.'"

"Years later, while staring at a picture of Fr Maschio in our seminary at Nashik, my mum recounted the incident to me. Together, we could see the hand of God gently leading me into the Salesian congregation."