VIERA | Prepared to celebrate the installation of their beloved priest, Holy Cross Father John Britto, parishioners, clergy and friends packed St. John the Evangelist Parish, Sept. 26. Various choirs came together for the occasion, making “joyful noise unto the Lord”. Bishop John Noonan shared words of gratitude as he handed the new pastor the keys to the parish.
Nine years after arriving at St. John the Evangelist, Father Britto could barely contain his joy. “I truly believe God’s hand was and is continuing to lead me through life,” he said. “I have experienced the joy of letting God lead me, for ‘God does not ration His gift of the Spirit’ (John 3:34). How else would you explain a boy from Tamil (India) who only made it through the 10th grade and then would go on to complete three masters’ degrees in English, education, and theology, now serving the wonderful people of God in the United States of America?” He added, “God continues to delight in doing good to us and invites us to be faithful to Him, to experience His infinite grace.”
Born December 15, 1963 in Agraharam, a village in South India, Father Britto is the youngest of four siblings, having lost a younger sister. Born to “profoundly religious” parents, his other sister would become a nun in the Congregation of the Franciscan Servants of Mary.
He joined the Brothers of Holy Cross at the end of 8th grade, professing final vows as a Holy Cross Brother in 1990. His vocation led him to serve as a promotor, formator, and administrator of vocations, to be a principal of 4,000 young men at a flagship school in India, and to be ordained as a priest in 2011. He said, his “call within a call… meant further surrender to God and letting go,” adding, “As someone once said, ‘The way of the Spirit and the way of the Lord are filled with 10,000 surrenders and 5,000 letting go.’”
First assigned to a parish in Vermont, he transferred to St. John the Evangelist in 2012. Earlier this year Father Britto became a U.S. citizen.
“I have come to realize the inexhaustible resources God provides when we remain in His love and serve as a channel of that love for others,” he noted. “When we truly believe that the Lord is our everything, we can serve Him with unspeakable joy. Then, along with the Psalmist, we can legitimately say, ‘God has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise’ (Psalm 40:4), and ‘I have not concealed your mercy and your faithfulness from the great congregation’ (cf. Psalm 40:10). Father Britto said, the nearer he draws to God, the more he realizes his unworthiness, as echoed in the words of St. Augustine: “In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it dazzled me.” This recognition helps him try to “become a reservoir of His grace.”
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic, September 29, 2021