Masses for the repose of the soul of Bishop Álvaro del Portillo
On March 23, the ninth anniversary of Bishop Álvaro del Portillo’s passage to heaven, Masses were held throughout the world in suffrage for his soul. In most cases the celebrants were priests of the Prelature (the Vicars of the Prelate in each country where this was possible). However, many Archbishops and Bishops wanted to give witness to their affection and devotion to Bishop del Portillo by officiating at Masses for him in their diocesan cathedrals.
The prayers of the faithful highlighted petitions for peace, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this year of the Rosary. Most of the homilies by the celebrants stressed the Pope’s pressing calls for peace in Iraq and in the Holy Land, and recalled Bishop Álvaro del Portillo as a “man of peace.”
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez, before imparting the blessing at the end of the ceremony, referred to the edict of the previous December 6 in which the Prelate of Opus Dei requested that anyone who had something to say about Bishop Álvaro del Portillo to do so, in order to prepare the documents pertaining to the opening of his cause of beatification and canonization.
In the Democratic Repulic of the Congo, Masses were held in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. In Cameroon, a Mass was celebrated in the capital, Yaoundé.
In São Paulo, the solemn Mass for the soul of Bishop del Portillo took place in the church of Santa Generosa, celebrated by the Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in Brazil, Msgr. Vicente Ancona Lopez.
In Peru, Archbishop Oscar Cantuarias, of Piura presided at the Eucharistic concelebration in the church of San Sebastián. Masses of suffrage were also held in the capital, Lima, as well as in Cañete, Arequipa and Chiclayo. Masses were also celebrated in the principal cities of the other countries in Latin America.
In Sydney, Australia, Saint Martha’s parish in Strathfield was the setting for a Mass to pray for the soul of Bishop del Portillo. Those attending came from very diverse backgrounds, with persons of Asian, Middle Eastern, African and European descent apparent in the large crowd. A number of priests concelebrated with the Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in Australia.
In Cebu, in the Philippines, Auxiliary Bishop Isabelo Abarquez celebrated Mass in the cathedral on March 21. He said that he was trying to pay back, to a small extent, his personal debt of gratitude to Don Álvaro.
In Europe, many Masses were offered for the soul of Bishop del Portillo on the ninth anniversary of his death. The Prelate of Opus Dei presided at the Mass celebrated in the Basilica of St. Eugene, in Rome.