29 years ago, João Pedro was a technician at the radio station where Dora was working as an announcer. They began going out together and he asked her to marry him. Now they have four children, and looking back over the years they realize they have overcome some difficult times and give thanks to God.
“I am Dora Isabel and I will be with you until midnight, playing Smooth FM songs.” Thus another segment of her radio program begins each evening. It is a demanding but rewarding job, which allows her to accompany many listeners at the end of a hard day of work.
Dora is passionate about many things: her family, radio broadcasting, music, a good conversation with friends… After several decades spent working at the radio station, several years ago the moment came for Dora to take stock of her life: “I considered the future and began to question whether this was the right path for my professional life.” Mulling over these concerns she received an invitation from a friend to attend a monthly day of recollection in a center of Opus Dei. It was an activity aimed at professional women and young mothers: “I was amazed at everything I heard in the meditations. And I thought: This is for me! I want to learn more about the sanctification of work because I truly need it.”
Pedro asks to go to the seminary
Dora lives in Tires, a suburb of Lisbon, Portugal. Two of her children, Pedro and Afonso, are twins. One day Pedro, who was fourteen at the time, told his mother that he wanted to go to the seminary to become a priest, after having already been in the preparatory seminary. Her son said that he didn’t know how to give a clear reason for this, but that he “felt a strong call to it in his heart.”
Dora’s reply was quite strong: “You need time to grow up and mature. You still have things to do. This is something very hard and demanding. You need to consider it calmly.”
“Pedro’s question coincided with my own decision about my vocation to Opus Dei. I saw the spirituality of the Work as not only something very attractive, but as a path in life for me. God had a plan for me and I had to give an answer.”
After considering it in her prayer and with her husband, “trying to be consistent with myself I thought: I can’t try to grow in this vocation to which God is calling me and, at the same time, close my eyes to my son’s vocation.”
On his part, her husband’s reaction was: “Why him? He is still so young, and hasn’t experienced so many things. And I asked him several times: But aren’t you happy here in the family? If it’s simply that you want to go to Mass every day, we also have daily Mass here in the parish.”
João Pedro confides: “With the help of the Work, Dora convinced me to say yes. Because it had to be a decision of the whole family.” So Pedro entered the seminary in Lisbon, grateful that his parents could understand the supernatural nature of his vocation.
A year later, Afonso too…
“Dad, Mom, I have something to tell you: I feel called to go to the seminary.” Dora couldn’t contain her surprise. And João Pedro asked Afonso: “Are you going because your twin brother is there and you want to follow the same path he did?” Afonso was quite clear: “You need to understand that when our Lord calls a person, he calls each one individually. We are twin brothers, but each has his own vocation.”
Dora confided that “I couldn’t find a single good argument to refuse Afonso’s request.” Today she thinks it was the right decision, since “thanks be to God they are happy on the path they have chosen with complete freedom.”
His twin brother Pedro, in turn, is very thankful to God and says that “my vocation and that of my mother in the Work arose at the same time. And for me it was fundamental to get to know Saint Josemaria with my mother’s help, to understand the dimension of sanctity in the little things of each day.”
Two future priests in the diocese of Lisbon
On November 28th, Pedro and Afonso will be ordained deacons in the Church of St. Jerome, in Lisbon. Dora and João Pedro are very happy about the path God has chosen for their two sons.
And since they are both professionals in the field of broadcasting, they are happy to be able to use their talents to spread the Church’s message. During the months of the pandemic, they have helped the seminary broadcast liturgical celebrations and have even created a weekly podcast to spread the writings of Pope Francis more widely.