Saturday, 13 July 2013

Beatification of First Opus Dei Prelate

Bishop Alvaro del Portillo

On the 5th of July 2013 Pope Francis approved the miracle that was attributed to the intercession of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo and this opened the way for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo.

Bishop Alvaro del Portillo succeeded St Josemaría Escrivá as head of Opus Dei on 15 September 1975. St Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, had died on 26 June 1975 at the age of 73.

St Josemaría Escrivá was himself canonised on 6 October 2002 following a process that began in 1981 after an unprecedented one third of the worlds bishops petitioned for St Josemaría Escrivá's beatification.[1]

Saint Josemaría Escrivá founded Opus Dei in 1928. The mission of Opus Dei is to spread the message that work and the circumstances of everyday life are occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society.
St Josemaría Escrivá celebrating Mass

Bishop Alvaro was born on 11 March 1914. He joined Opus Dei in 1935 and was ordained a priest in 1944. He was an active participant in Vatican II and a consultor at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

On 28 November 1982 Bishop Alvaro became the first prelate of Opus Dei when Pope John Paul II made Opus Dei a personal prelature. He was ordained as a bishop by Pope John Paul II on 6 January 1991.

Bishop Alvaro was particularly concerned about the role of priests in the world. In 1986 he wrote: “The priesthood is not a career but a generous, complete self-giving, without calculation or limits, to be sowers of peace and joy in the world, and to open the gates of Heaven to those who benefit from this service and ministry.

Bishop Alvaro died on 23 March 1994.

The miracle that opened the way for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro was the miraculous recovery of a Chilean new-born baby Jose Ignacio Ureta Wilson who suffered a cardiac arrest that lasted more than 30 minutes.

Jack Valero, the press officer of Opus Dei in the UK, has written an excellent account of the miracle entitled “The Miracle That Led To The Beatification Of Opus Dei Leader”.

The Church has opened many causes of canonisation for members of Opus Dei who died with a reputation for holiness. Information about several of these causes can be found here – Opus Dei Canonisation Causes

I end with this short video about Bishop Alvaro.

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