The nimble 75 year-young priest, who hales from Sri Lanka, served in his home diocese of Colombo for over 30 years. And for the past 19 years, he has generously divided his ministry time shepherding the faithful of northeast Indiana as administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ege and St. John Bosco Parish in Churubusco.
Father Pinto was born on Feb. 28, 1938, in Negombo, the oldest of Santiago and Dona’s three children. His childhood education and faith formation were guided not only by his mother’s encouragement to attend Mass and recite the rosary daily but by the nuns of Good Shepherd as well. Father Pinto served in his home parish of Sea Street, Negombo, as an altar server, and was encouraged to consider a vocation to the Priesthood by Pastor Anthony Fernando.
Heeding the call, Father Pinto’s theological seminary studies began at the National Seminary, Ampitiya in Kandy, and were conducted by an international staff. He was ordained into the Priesthood by Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Corray on Dec. 21, 1963. His priestly ministry took him across the expanse of his diocese in Sri Lanka until in 1995 he was asked to relocate to the U.S. to serve in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend under the tutelage of then Bishop John M. D’Arcy.
After spending a couple of months serving at St. Andrew and St. Hyacinth parishes, he was assigned as administrator of Immaculate Conception and St. John Bosco parishes.
Of his Priesthood Father Pinto says, “A vocation is something very mysterious.” Of his appointment in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, he says, “Your ministry is where you are. … Where I’m sent, I work. It’s a calling to obey.”
Diana Muehlfeld, St. John Bosco Parish secretary for over 24 years, says of Father Pinto: “He enjoys parish life. He interacts well with the parishioners. He is very much into honoring the past (history of the parish, former pastors, etc.), while looking forward to the future. He sees where we are lacking and encourages us and helps us fill those gaps.”
In his spare time between shepherding parishioners at both parishes and celebrating Masses, Father Pinto enjoys working with electronics.
A golden jubilee Mass for Father Pinto, in which a special song written in his honor will be played, will be celebrated at 3 p.m. on Dec. 15 at St. John Bosco Church in Churubusco. A dinner reception will follow at the Churubusco junior/senior high school.
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