A Tribute of Love to Rev. Fr. Joel Pinto, OFM Cap (8 Nov 1939 – 24 May 2017)

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones” (Ps 116:15). Our Capuchin Brother Joel Pinto was one of His faithful ones, who remained ever precious to us and to all those who encountered him during his earthly pilgrimage, now remains precious to our heavenly father in his sister death. We are in Easter tide and the feast of Ascension is knocking at our doors, it indeed provided the solemn atmosphere to Br. Joel Pinto to return to the abode of his heavenly Father after his earthly mission on May 24, 2017. Indeed Sister Death has taken her brother Joel into her embrace. In the family, he was the sixth of the twelve children born to the pious, God-fearing parents Marian Pinto and Elizabeth Pinto of St. Francis Xavier Church of Bijjai Parish in the Diocese of Mangalore. Born on November 8, 1939, he was baptized as Aloysius Leo Pinto. After completing his early studies in his native place and inspired by the life of the Capuchins around Mangalore, he expressed his desire to be a Capuchin. After completing his Latin School at Coimbatore, TN, he was vested as a novice at Monte Mariano on April 30, 1960 with the name Joel. He made his temporary profession on May 1, 1961, after which he proceeded to Kollam in Kerala for his studies in Philosophy. He made his option permanent with his perpetual profession on May 1, 1964. After completing his studies in theology at St. Joseph’s friary Kotagiri, TN, he was ordained a priest on December 17, 1967 at St. Francis Xavier Church, Bijai. As a young priest, Br. Joel exhibited a lot of eagerness for ministry. Superiors sent him to Alverno Friary, Monte de Guirim – Goa in the year 1968, where he served as a teacher, Headmaster, Coordinator of National Institute of Open Schooling and Boarding director of the boarding house Fr. Joel was the Headmaster for the longest Term in the school. In addition to his teaching ministry, He took keen interest in all co-curricular activities of the school, especially music, sports and scouts. He worked in strengthening and developing the school. He was instrumental in doing the school grounds, the Sports complex near the school, first to start Computer Literacy Programme in the school. He was the front runner in getting English as the medium of Instruction in the primary school. He was also instrumental in starting the‘National Association of Blind’ and Bamboo handicraft to less fortunate girls in the Guirim. During the golden Jubilee of the school he started the N.I.O.S. By seeing his capacity, his superiors chose him for higher studies in Cody, Canada. On his return he was placed at Dayalbagh Ashram, Ujire as the Director of Social work. Since his services were very much needed, his superiors again transferred him to Alverno Friary,Monte de Guirim Goa to serve as the Headmaster and the Principal of St. Anthony’s school. When the call was sounded by the then Provincial and his Council for missionary volunteers, it was Br. Joel who came forward with the words “Here I am, send me”. The then Provincial minister sent him to work in Uganda, Africa. He served there as a social work project manager till 1995. Back to the province, again he landed in Goa to be the Headmaster of St. Anthony’s school, from there as the superior and director of Vimukti social work center, Dayalbagh Ashram, Ujire. He worked tirelessly for the social upliftmen of the poor and down trodden. Towards the end of his life, his health became a big concern as it suffered a downturn due to more than one ailment. Considering his health condition, he was placed at Shanti Sadahana (FISI) for rest and recuperation. In spite of his ill-health, he involved himself in preaching retreats and spiritual direction of the Diploma Students. In 2009, his health and physical condition literally took a turn for the worse and he had to begin dialysis and remained on dialysis till the end of his life. After being for a short time at the Provincialate, in 2010 he was placed at Darshan Institute of Theology, Bangalore. Though sick never seemed to be sick determinate to face everything with courage and sobriety. He fought back like a hero during his ailment. Frequent dialysis made him weak but did not hinder his readiness to serve. Before the end came knocking at his doors and since the cold climate of Bangalore was not conducive for his ill-health, he expressed his wish to live in a place with a warmer climate at Honnavar. Though the community was not willing to part with him, but for his good with the permission of the provincial, he left Bangalore on April 29, 2015 to St. Ignatius Hospital, Honnavar. Despite his ill-health, he worked as a Chaplin and councilor at St. Ignatius. Though his spiritual service, he won the hearts of Religious Sisters, doctors, nursing students and patients in the hospital. To the sick he remained as a wounded healer. We will forever remain indebted to the SRA sisters, especially, Sr. Maria Goretti and her team of sisters who were rendering round the clock service to Br. Joel. When his condition became very serious the hospital staff rushed Br. Joel to Fr. Mullers hospital and there he breathed his last at the dawn of May 24, when the sun was rising. All he gifts and talents that Br. Joel was endowed with were put at the service of the fraternity or institutions to which he was assigned. He was a shrewd administrator and a hard and honest worker. He was able to win over both powerful people to do the desired job and simple to bring them up in life. For all these reasons, whatever task was entrusted to him, he could accomplish it efficiency and carry it to the full. Fr Joel, a doyen of OFM Capuchin was the visionary headmaster at Monte de Guirim School for almost 25 years until his retirement in late 1990s during which the school carved out a niche in academics as well as sports. Several ex-students condoled the death of Fr. Joel, whom they described as a true, motivating and inspiring educator who has left an indelible mark in their lives. Many priests, religious sisters and young seminarians bloomed under his spiritual guidance. He was a gentle, inspiring father figure with compassion being his hallmark. The seminarians/priests/religious sisters remain ever grateful for his spiritual accompaniment. Time will not be sufficient to enumerate his services. The school remains ever grateful to Br, Joel. We thank God for your life and good works, for your beautiful soul, for your love and sparkling light that shone brightly on us. May Our Lady and the Angels of God accompany you to Paradise. May you rest in peace, Pray for us until we meet again. Amen