from Fr Archibald D'Silva

Fr Eric Pinto (73), passed away on Wedenesday March 5, 2008.

About Fr Eric

Fr Eric Pinto was born in  Bendur , Mangalore on October 27, 1935 .

Eric did his high school studies from St Joseph’s High School, Umarkadi, Mumbai. He completed intermediate and B.Sc from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. After his graduation, Eric worked for Khadi Industries in oil and soap division and he rose to the position of inspector in soap-making industry and was stationed at Kanpur.

In one of the Sunday sermons, Fr Faustine Alva, the then parish priest of St Xavier’s, Kanpur had said, 'Why should the foreigners come and serve our people here all these years? Why can’t the sons of the soil take up the responsibility of serving the Church.' This inspired young Eric to join the seminary. In July 1957, Eric was in St Paul’s minor seminary, Lucknow for a year of orientation. In the following years, he was in the Papal seminary, Pune for his philosophical studies. In 1963, Eric was sent to Innsbruck, Austria for his theological studies.

He was ordained priest on March 11, 1967. In July that year, Fr Eric was in St Joseph’s seminary, Allahabad teaching Patrology and allied subjects. After two years Fr Eric was posted to St Joseph’s Cathedral as an assistant to Fr Faustine Alva, his inspiration and guru.

In the late 60’s there was a severe drought in Meja and Karchana tehsil of Allahabad, where mostly ‘ Kol ’ Adivasi people lived. Fr Alva and Fr Eric managed to get some food for work projects and employed most of the adivasis in digging ponds and deepening of lakes and building bands to retain rainwater. People appreciated their work so much that they used to call these priests 'Pitaji.'

From the Cathedral, Fr Eric was transferred to Renukoot where he founded a school at Murdhwa for the slum children. Today it is a junior high school. From Renukoot he opened a 'Asnaband Mission' to bring Good News to Uraon adivasis .

In 1976 Fr Eric was back in Allahabad as Vicar Capitular when bishop Alfred Fernandes retired from the diocese. In 1977 when bishop Baptist Mudartha was transferred from the See of Jhansi to Allahabad, Fr Eric was back in Renukoot for the second term. This time there was request for English medium school in thermal plant townships of Shaktinagar, Anpara, and Rihandnagar. Fr Eric could approach the highest civil authorities like GMs and DMs with ease as he was at ease with the 'jhuggi – jhopriwalas.' Schools and convents were opened in Shaktinagar, Anpara and Rihandnagar.

In the late 80’s, Fr Eric was back in the Cathedral as the parish priest. With his music and singing, he was a great attraction with the youth. He would gather the youth and mix with them freely.

From the Cathedral, Fr Eric was transferred to St Patrick’s Church Allahabad, where he began his new ministry of exorcism. So many people would flock to him to be liberated from the power of evil one and be healed. Hence, he was called to the seminary to teach Patrology and Angelorum and till 1998 he was a visiting professor at St Joseph’s seminary, Allahabad.

From St Patrick’s, Allahabad a call came to open a station at Jagdishpur where an Indo – Gulf fertilizer factory and township had come up. Fr Eric started a high school, a church, a parish house and a convent. The church was built using his own resources. From Jagdishpur, Fr Eric moved to Shankargarh  to open his 11 Mission station. In Shankargarh a school for the children of the labourers working in the silicon and sand mines was opened along with an English medium school. In Shankargarh also Fr Eric began his ministry with exorcism as a lot of people believed in 'Jadu-Tona' and superstitious practices.

On April 26 Fr Eric was in Delhi on