Shortly after Pinto began theology studies, his father died suddenly. As the oldest of 12 siblings, he elected to leave seminary and assist his mother in raising his brothers and sisters. He stuck around until his youngest sibling was through college, and then helped with his nieces and nephews.
All the while, the goal of becoming a priest remained in his heart. He told CNA that while he "dated a few times," he "never lost the desire for priesthood" and he never seriously considered marriage. In his late 30s, Pinto attempted again to re-enter seminary, but family obligations once again took precedence.
Pinto explained to CNA that while he was "not at all" frustrated in having to delay his seminary studies to take care of his siblings, there "were a lot of stressful and challenging times."
Finally, in 2017, he enrolled at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Michigan. Pinto told CNA that despite the 44-year gap in formal seminary studies, it was "not a problem" for him to jump back in straight to the three years of theology studies. He credits his brother seminarians for their help in his success, saying that he "would not have made it through the first Theology One year" without them.
"I am so very grateful and always will be to them," he said. "They are the best."
Pinto explained to CNA that he was able to maintain his faith during his seminary hiatus by relying on "knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, that he is God, and His love of us is infinite."