Dra Teresa Pais Zambujo, the Mayor of Cascais, civil dignitaries and hundreds of worshippers gathered in the three huge marquees that had been erected in the main square in front of the Town’s Grand Church to pay homage to Oeiras priest, Fernando Martins, recently.
Father Martins has devotedly served the parish of Oeiras since October 1966. He will now be entered into the town’s history books for his social and cultural work within the Oeiras district. This includes the creation of the Parochial Social Centre of Oeiras and two centres for children aged from three months to 10 years – the Nursery School in Santo Amaro and Nursery School Pombal with its playground and day-care centre. Father Martins was also involved in setting up the social complex in Figueirinha, Oeiras, with a home for elderly residents, a day centre and a support service for the housebound and disabled.
He was also honoured for his role in organising the restoration of the town’s main church and raising funds to replace the roof, renew the electrical system, renovate the church towers, buy a new clock and computerise the bells. He was also instrumental in a project to preserve and restore the church’s many treasures – its valuable paintings, sculptures and many others artefacts.
As a result of his hard work, church documents, which survived being vandalised during the French invasions, have been arranged, classified and displayed – a source of precious history for Oeiras scholars. Father Martins also created three new parishes – Porto Salvo, instituted in 1984, St António de Nova Oeiras in 1991, and St Julião and Santa Bárbara, also in 1991.
The Service of Homage was followed by the Mayor unveiling a plaque bearing Father Martins’ name at the social complex in Figueirinha. When asked if he would have changed his life, he said: “Well, I am 80 years old, I have lived all my life for others. I feel well in myself, with what I have done and the decisions I have made – some good, some maybe not so good, but that is life. The great joy that I have and that I will take with me is the joy to have been able to help so many others and to help contribute to their happiness.”
The world is a much better place with people like Father Fernando Martins. Bob Hughes