Attracted by Missionary Charism and Community Life
My Vocation Story
Fr. Raj Britto, CMF
Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí
Like many vocation stories, my vocation was nurtured in my family. My parents are devoted Catholics and still inspire me today to live as a missionary priest. I am the first born in my family and have been very responsible and hard-working since my younger days. I went to Catholic school until I finished my high school and then I joined the Claretian Minor Seminary, just before my fifteenth birthday.
I also grew up in a Catholic neighborhood and always attended Sunday Mass. After my First Communion and Confirmation, I developed an interest in being an Altar Server. Before, joining the Claretian Minor Seminary, I attended Holy Mass daily at my parish church for about five years and served at the altar and sometimes as a lector. I attended all the catechism classes regularly in school and was inspired by many priests who served at my home parish. I was attracted by their closeness to the people, their preaching skills and other administrative abilities. I wanted to be a priest already from my childhood.
I was good at my studies and I always showed interest in becoming a priest. I was not sure about the differences between the diocesan clergy and the missionary priests. I also had the desire to work in far-away lands, away from my family and home town. After my high school graduation, since some of my friends joined the Claretian Minor Seminary, I too showed my interest and the rector of the seminary accepted me as a candidate.
After joining the Claretian Minor Seminary in Madurai, India, in July 1982, I began to understand the Claretian lifestyle and the missionary charism. People in the neighborhood liked the Claretian Missionaries better than other religious because of their availability and approachability. The Claretian Missionaries initiated their education mission to empower people and their orphanage to eradicate female infanticide in the neighborhood. More than anything, I liked the belonging we all shared in our seminary. We were 80 seminarians living in one building and were really brothers to each other.
The missionary adventures of the Indian Claretians on foreign soil and in different cultures always inspired me to be a missionary priest. During my time in formation, my own mission exposure to different cultures; living among the Bengalis, Santhals and other tribes in India, help
ed me to understand the universality of our mission.
After my priestly ordination, I served in the formation program of the postulants and aspirants for about 12 years. My post-graduation studies in Consecrated Life in Madrid helped me to understand the dynamics of religious life. Very many Claretian professors inspired me to be a good Claretian Missionary. I was attracted by their simplicity, knowledge and approachability. I was given very many opportunities during my three-year stay in Spain from 1999 to 2002 to visit dozens of our mission places in different provinces of Spain. I became quite familiar with the places of Claret like Sallent, Vic, Barcelona and Mont Serrat. During this time, I also had the opportunity to go on pilgrimages to Rome, Fatima and Lourdes, to strengthen my faith. I taught the Theology of Consecrated Life in our Institute in Bangalore, India for about 10 years, as Dean and as a Visiting Professor.
When I look at my current mission, being the Superior and Pastor at Sacred Heart, Prescott, Arizona, I am able to see the guiding hand of God leading me. Certainly, there are challenges in every mission. But a good community life, dedicated staff and generous parishioners offer consolation and peace in my heart. Our Founder Claret’s saying “My spirit goes to the whole world,” has brought me to Prescott, to work in the USA–Canada Province since 2013 October.
The province and the whole congregation very often emphasize the missionary spirit and quality community life. I believe that my approach and the gifts I have given to the current mission of parish ministry, will certainly bring fruit for the kingdom of God.
Continue to pray for me that I may be a faithful servant in the vineyard of the Lord, constantly working for the Glory of God and for the salvation of souls.
Are you unsure about your vocation? Would you like to know more about the life of the Claretians? Let our Vocations Director know: Contact