Five years ago the State of Georgia executed a criminal on death row. Troy Davis was given the death penalty for killing a cop several years earlier. Over the years many questions and doubts had been raised regarding the evidence that was used to indict him, but at the end the execution was not stopped at the last moment. Many people begged and pleaded that his life be spared. Even the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, asked that Troy Davis be shown mercy.
When I first came to the U.S. thirty-one years ago, my friends warned me about many things. They kept insisting that I should always resist the temptation to pick up hitchhikers on the highway. About twenty-four years ago, one winter morning I was driving on an undivided highway south of Champaign, IL, and did not heed their wise counsel and my better judgment. As I was driving back to the university after celebrating Sunday Mass at a little country church, I saw someone walking by the side of the road. It was cold. I kept telling myself that it would take the guy at least four hours of walking to get to Champaign. I slowed down hesitantly as I wanted to help the person. The voices in my head urged me to speed up and escape… The young hitchhiker had already taken a look at me and he had seen my white collar. At that point, I had no choice but to stop.
There is an old saying which goes thus: “See Rome and die!” In the old days everyone wanted to visit Rome before they departed this world because Rome was the center of civilization. For us Christians, the saying rings even truer because once we have been in Rome we understand our Catholic faith better. It was when I visited the Scavi, the archeological diggings under the main altar of St Peter’s Basilica, that my faith came really alive. I knew I was standing in the presence of the First Apostle, Peter.
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...