A dual calling
José Freire is both a doctor and a priest in a busy parish. Tiago Villanueva talks to him about his vocations
José Freire is a general practitioner in Lisbon, but he is also a fully active Catholic priest. After clerking his patients, he heads to the other side of the city to celebrate mass in a busy parish.
Although he had a calling from the church, José was compelled to study medicine first: “I first thought of becoming a doctor in secondary school. My other option was engineering, but at the time, I realised it might be easier to find a job if I followed medicine. But I was also enticed to medicine, as it was the course which allowed me to be closer to people. Furthermore, I have always been fascinated by the aspect of human suffering, and that also influenced my choice.”
Born in Angola, a former Portuguese colony, José came to Portugal when he was seven years old. He spent six years studying medicine at the University of