Simplicity might well be the characteristic that best describes him. But we could refer to so many others of his many attributes. He’s the friend of a friend, a perfectionist in everything he does, and of an enviable intelligence. António Manuel da Silveira Catana Valério, or Valério, to his friends, born in Idanha-a-Nova, a town in the district of Castelo Branco, always has a smile on his face. He is always ready to reach out to anyone who needs him, whether in a simple act of comfort, or even for advice. He grew up in a family that had a lot to do with the church, and it didn’t take him long to understand that his vocation lay in this direction. God’s calling spoke the loudest. He joined the seminary at 16. He became a priest in the Society of Jesus. Today, eight years later, he is a man who lives to God and of everyone surrounding him. Because being of service to others is what gives António Valério joy in his life. And because this issue is, in part, dedicated to the events of May 13, the day of Our Lady of Fátima, and of Pope Francisco’s visit to Portugal, we took time to talk to Valério and listen to what he had to tell us. The word «mission» – which Valério utters many times –, is the watchword of this interview with Villas&Golfe.
When and what made you want to become a priest?
You could say that my vocation to the priesthood developed naturally. I grew up in a very religious family and involved in church life. There is, of course, a time at which questions are asked as to what you want to be and if happiness is pushing you towards certain options in life. In my case, I understood that being a priest meant living to serve others, helping them through life’s major moments, as priests have this mission to accompany and help people in their human life and life of faith.
Why did you choose to be part of the Society of Jesus?
I joined the seminary at the age of 16 years but, at a given time, I learned of the Society of Jesus and what particularly caught my attention was the fact that Jesuits have diversity of places and situations as their mission field, such as the faith-culture dialogue; faith-science, social and missionary work; teaching and research in various areas of knowledge; dialogue between the various Christian denominations and other religions; evangelizing children and young people, along with the constant mobility (it’s very rare to be in the same mission for many years). This all saw me decide to become a Jesuit.