My Journey to the Priesthood in Angola
My name isEurico Piyali Pinto and this is the story of my personal vocation journey. It seems that people's lives usually travel in straight lines but my story has many twists and turns, ups and downs.
I was born in March 27, 1976 in Kahala, Huambo, Angola. I was a member of St. Anthony’s Parish in Benguela, Angola. I worked actively with the youth group of that parish. As a youth I read the scriptures faithfully each day. It helped me very much, especially in the more difficult moments of my life. Soon a desire to become a priest
welled up within me. After finishing the eighth grade I decided to join a Vocation group.
The Director of the Vocation group, Sr. Rosario, tried to get me to apply for the Minor seminary but I refused. Little by little, my desire to serve as a priest began to fade. I soon shifted my attention to a new dream: becoming a medical doctor. Twice I tried to join the IMS, a Medical Institute, but I could not fulfill the demanding requirements. Then I thought of majoring in education, but teaching was just not in my blood. I left school for two years and I decided to enter the informal business sector that provided most of Angolans with their livelihood. I found myself buying and selling goods in Lobito and Sumbe, traveling between the two coastal cities in a small, old and badly maintained boat. Meanwhile, my old dream of becoming a priest resurfaced. Amidst all this change, I managed to continue my habit of reading the scriptures
"....The Passion of Christ Touched me the Most,
knowing that there was someone who had died for
daily. It provided me with the final boost I needed. Frankly, the Passion of Christ touched me the most, knowing that there was someone who had died for my sins. But I had my doubts about ever being able to return to the Vocation Group in my parish because when I left, I did it in an angry way. I continued on my journey and decided to change course once again. Business was no longer appealing so I decided to take a computer course. In that class I met some lassmates who also happened to be young priests—Frs. José Inacio Hiliyeke, José Francisco and Gabriel Mussungu. In the computer class, the three priests and myself were considered the best students. In fact, Fr. José Inácio Hiliyeke promised to find me a job. Meanwhile, my father became ill and all my attention involved taking care of my sick father. Because of this situation, I need a job right away. Not long after, Fr. José Inácio fulfilled his promise by employing me as a receptionist at the Diocesan Major Seminary. While
" At this time, my old dream of becoming a priest
I worked there, my three priest classmates continued to play a big role in reviving my vocation to the priesthood. In July of 1995 I officially began my new job as receptionist. My main duty was to welcome visitors and direct them to the office or person they requested. At this time, my old
dream of becoming a priest resurfaced and I was influenced by my friendship with a seminarian, José Dias Tumona, who was then in his final year of Philosophy. With feeling welling up within me, I decided to become a member of the Vocational club once again. The following year, I finally entered the Diocesan seminary.
While continuing my studies to become a priest, occasional doubts set in but were appropriately dealt with, almost always with help of my close friends. I am happy to say that I was ordained priest in July 30, 2006. Curiously, after my ordination to the Priesthood, I was appointed as a member of Directory Board of the Seminary, for whom I had worked as a receptionist. God really does write straight with crooked lines…and I’m very happy God does!
Eurico Piyali Pinto was a classmate of several La Salette seminarians in Angola. At his ordination, he told the story of his vocation journey. Impressed by his story, Fr. António Tchindau, MS recounted it in the blog of the La Salette Missionaries from the Region of Angola. This article was translated from the Portuguese by Fr. Pedro Chingandu, MS, a member of that same Region, now working at the La Salette National Shrine in Attleboro, MA.
Seven Deacons being ordained to priesthood in Angola