On November 17, 2003 the introduction of Le Fondateur de l’Opus Dei (Tome II, 1936-1946), by Andrés Vázquez de Prada, was held at Brussels’s Fondation Universitaire. Taking part in the presentation were Professor Jean-Marie Cauchies, professor of history and member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, and Stéphane Seminckx, director of the Prelature of Opus Dei’s information office. About 150 people attended the presentation. The first speaker emphasized that this biography is a work of history that captured an epoch with great vigor and objectivity. The second speaker described the spiritual courage of the founder of Opus Dei during the difficult times in Spain from 1936 to1946.
A new edition of The Way in Arabic has been published. The print run of 1,000 copies, by Ediciones Naufal, will be distributed in various Arab countries, among them Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
From November 20 to 23, the cultural center of St. Augustine’s Cathedral in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, held an exposition on the life and message of St. Josemaría. The opening ceremony was presided over by Msgr. Charles Aka, Vicar General of the diocese. A number of government officials attended the ceremony along with a large public. In his message, the Vicar General stressed the importance of the work that Opus Dei was carrying out in behalf of the diocese. The exposition consisted of 24 posters reflecting the most important moments in the life of the saint, from his childhood right to his death.
The city council of Rio de Janeiro, in October 2003, passed a motion of congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the foundation of Opus Dei. The city councilors approved the motion as a manifestation of the gratitude of Brazil’s former capital for the social and formative work that the Prelature has been carrying out in the city since 1975.
The Promesa publishing company in Costa Rica has published a book entitled El corazon humano en las enseñanzas de San Josemaría Escrivá [The human heart in the teachings of St. Josemaría] by the Chilean academician Carmen Vidal Montecinos. In her study, Dr. Vidal stresses that the teachings of the founder of Opus Dei are a revitalizing contribution to the educational task of men and women in the third millennium. She points to the universality of these teachings and their profound efficacy when one strives to put them into practice.
To spread knowledge of St. Josemaría throughout the country, Procodes publishers, in Colombia, has printed 5,000 copies of the short biography by Michael Dolz published for the canonization of the founder of Opus Dei. The biography, in combination with a copy of The Way, is being offered at a special price in more than a hundred bookstores and supermarkets. It is also being distributed in almost 500 parishes throughout the country.
In December the publisher Bokförlage Catholica of Vejbystrand, Sweden, printed 1,000 copies of Friends of God in Swedish. More than a fourth of the printing was sold within a few days of publication. Friends of God is the first book of homilies by the founder of Opus Dei published in Swedish. In addition, the following books of St. Josemaría have been made available on the internet in Swedish: The Way, Holy Rosary, The Way of the Cross and Furrow, as well as Friends of God. Since December these works can now be consulted on line.
Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez of Granada, Spain, on October 5, blessed a new “paso” or float representing one of the stations of the cross, carried in the Holy Friday processions by the Confraternity of Santisimo Cristo de los Favores, a well-known participant in the Good Friday events in Granada. On one of the panels of the float there is an image of St. Josemaría. In 1945, St. Josemaría made his first visit to Granada and during his stay in the city he celebrated Mass in the parish church of St. Cecilio, the patron of Granada, and prayed before the Cristo de los Favores. The confraternity of los Favores wanted to honor St. Josemaría in this way. In the words of the secretary of the Confraternity, this is good news for the faithful, since it is the first image of St. Josemaría that will be carried in the Holy Week processions in Granada.
On November 5, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, blessed the land and laid the first stone for the future parish church of St. Josemaría. Some six hundred people attended the ceremony. The Archbishop expressed his wish that “the parish will provide a great service for all the district’s needs,” thus contributing “to making a better society and a better people.” At the end of the ceremony, he invoked the “protection of the saint to carry out more courageously the path of the presence of the laity in the life of the Church.” He also wanted to note the principal contribution of Opus Dei to the diocese: “well-formed priests and laity, who are at the service of whatever the diocese needs most at each moment.” The ceremony of laying the first stone coincided with the first anniversary of the canonization of the founder of Opus Dei. The activities of the parish began on the previous March 28th, in temporary facilities. The construction of the new church will begin in January and is expected to take three years.