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No. 43 • July - December 2006 • Page 194
 
 
 
 •  Prelate
 

Pastoral Trips: Valencia, Kenya and Uganda, the United States and Canada, Lebanon

On July 8 and 9, the Fifth World Congress of Families was celebrated in Valencia, presided over by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The Prelate of Opus Dei was present at the ceremonies. In addition, he met with faithful of Opus Dei in the Valencia region and visited a number of people suffering from illnesses.

He arrived in Valencia on Friday, July 7. On the morning of the 8th, he went to the Cathedral to participate with many other bishops and priests in the welcoming ceremony for Benedict XVI. In the afternoon, he took part in the vigil for the World Congress of Families. Before the ceremony began, he was interviewed by a television network. On Sunday the 9th, the Prelate of Opus Dei concelebrated at the closing Mass of the Congress presided over by the Pope, together with many cardinals, bishops, and priests from around the world.

On Sunday afternoon, after the Holy Father had begun his return trip to Rome, the Prelate had a meeting with the vicars of all the delegations of Spain, at the seat of the delegation of the Prelature in Valencia. A little later, at Valencia’s Trade Fair Pavilion, he had a get-together with a large group of women of the Prelature. On the next day he had a similar meeting for men in the same place. He also had catechetical meetings with young people on the 10th in the Guadalaviar School in Valencia, and El Vedat School in Torrent, a few miles from Valencia.

On the 10th he went to pray to La Virgen de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken) at her basilica, a traditional focus of Marian piety in the Valencian region; he also visited the provisional site of a parish dedicated to St. Josemaría and the construction site of the new church, scheduled to be inaugurated in the coming year.

On Tuesday, July 11, at ten in the morning, he made a brief visit to the church of San Juan del Hospital to view a recently installed image of St. Josemaría. Afterwards he went to the archbishop’s residence where he visited Valencia’s Archbishop Agustín García-Gasco. After this meeting he left for Madrid.


The Prelate of Opus Dei was in Kenya and Uganda at the end of August.

He arrived in Nairobi on August 24. The following day he presided over the graduation ceremony at Strathmore University. He was given an honorary doctorate and presented awards to the students who had finished their studies.

On the 26th, in the esplanade in front of Strathmore University, he took part in a catechetical gathering with some 3,000 people and answered questions from those present. One of the questioners was a Hindu man who had worked in the construction of the oratories of some of the centers of Opus Dei in Nairobi. He said that people had always insisted that the oratories had to be done “with perfection,” with special care. His question was: “Why such insistence?” The Prelate explained that, for Catholics, the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist is very important. Therefore it is a duty to treat him well, even in material things. Churches and oratories, he said, have to reflect that love.

In Nairobi, the Prelate of Opus Dei greeted Archbishop Raphael Ndingi, and the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop John Njue. In addition, he had get-togethers with members of the Prelature in Strathmore School and blessed an oratory in a retreat center entrusted to the spiritual care of the Prelature.

Bishop Echevarría spent August 27 to 29 in Uganda. About a thousand people attended a get-together with him in the Kampala Serena Hotel in the capital. He also had a meeting with young people in Bugala Study Centre, whose oratory he blessed, and in Teemba Study Centre. During his stay in Kampala he also visited the President of the Ugandan Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Matthias Ssekamanya.


The Prelate of Opus Dei arrived in New York on September 11. On the morning of the following day, Tuesday the 12th, he took part in meetings with the men’s and women’s governing bodies of the Prelature in the United States. At mid-day he greeted Bishop Robert Anthony Brucato, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of New York, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center. He also had get-togethers with boys and then with girls who take part in the formational work offered by Opus Dei. He encouraged them to give doctrine to their friends, one by one. “It’s a question of loving them, understanding them, and seeking how to help them, without being afraid what others may think.”

On Wednesday the 13th, the Prelate had get-togethers with faithful of Opus Dei and in the evening he met with more than two thousand people who filled the Manhattan Center auditorium. He spoke to them about God’s love for and nearness to each person and about forgiving one’s enemies. He also asked people to pray for the Pope.

Early in the morning on Thursday, September 14, Bishop Echevarría left by plane for Montreal.

Shortly after his arrival the Prelate received a number of families. On the following day he went to the Manoir de Beaujeu, a conference center about 30 miles from Montreal, to consecrate an oratory in a new pavilion housing a School of Hospitality. There the Prelate met with a group of married couples, whom he encouraged to form homes filled with affection and peace. On his return to Montreal in the afternoon, Bishop Echevarría met with Bishop Joseph Khoury, the Maronite Eparch of Canada. Afterwards he met with priests from various Canadian dioceses (Montreal, Longueuil, Kingston, St. Jerome, Ottawa, and Quebec), and also from the U.S. states of Vermont and Massachusetts. His main topic of conversation was love for the Holy Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation.

On Saturday, September 16, the Prelate spoke to a group of students about the importance of putting Christ into their studies and getting to know their faith better. In the evening he had a catechetical get-together with some 1,300 people in the Maisonneuve Theater in the Place des Arts. Bishop Echevarría said that he was very happy to be in Montreal and recalled that the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaría Escrivá, had prayed a lot for this country. At the end he invited those present to pray for the Pope and to read frequently the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

On Sunday the 17th, Bishop Echevarría left for Toronto. There he stayed at Ernescliff College, situated on the university campus. He took advantage of his stay to speak with the students living in the residence, reminding them of their serious obligation to study intensely as a preparation for their future lives. Afterwards, the Prelate met with a number of families from the Toronto area. A little later he had a get-together in the Roy Thomson Hall with some 1,700 people. There he stressed the importance of living a vigorous Christian life in the midst of the world. He also spoke about the need to pray for the dead.

On Monday the 18th, he visited Hawthorn, a school for girls. He was received by about 250 students with their parents and teachers. Later he had a meeting with priests and seminarians. He recalled that St. Josemaría had a great love for the Eucharist and for diocesan priests—among whom are included all the priests of Opus Dei, as secular priests—and he spoke of the importance of wearing clerical attire in order to give public witness of their availability to help and serve everyone. On the next day, after visiting Cardinal Aloysius Ambrosic, Archbishop of Toronto, he met with several groups of young people.

On Friday, September 22, Bishop Echevarría arrived in Vancouver. In Glenwood, the Center of Opus Dei where he stayed, he met with a number of families and small groups of students. On Saturday the 23rd, he met with about 900 people in the Westin Bayshore Hotel. The Prelate spoke about love for the Pope and the need to pray for him. He also asked people to pray for Opus Dei, an institution that exists, he said, to remind everyone that we can be saints in and through our ordinary life. He told them that Opus Dei was preparing to go to Russia, Vietnam, Rumania and Bulgaria. Afterwards, Bishop Echevarría went to see a piece of property at Britannia Beach, north of Vancouver, which hopefully will become the site of a future conference center. He blessed the land and prayed for abundant apostolic fruit. On the return trip, while admiring a view of the city, he said it was one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen.

On the afternoon of September 23, Bishop Echevarría arrived in San Francisco, after a flight from Vancouver. His intense schedule the next few days made room for non-programmed visits with people who showed up spontaneously to see him. For example, on the 24th various families were waiting at the entrance to the theater where they knew he was to meet with young people; that same day, other families greeted him as he arrived at Trumbull Manor, a conference center in which the Prelate spent several hours. A group of boys who had traveled from San Diego also came to see him at Trumbull Manor.

On the 25th he had lunch with the Cardinal Archbishop of San Francisco in the Cardinal’s residence and, when leaving, made a brief visit to the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral.

He remained in the San Francisco area until the 26th. The Prelate visited both the men’s and women’s headquarters of the Prelature’s Delegation (Parkview and Rosewood), as well as Charwick and Menlough, two centers situated some miles south of San Francisco, in Atherton and Menlo Park respectively. On the way to Atherton they stopped in a cemetery to visit the graves of two women of Opus Dei. On his return, before leaving Silicon Valley, as the area is popularly known, he had a meeting in the Stanford Hotel with some 120 Supernumeraries and Cooperators.

The largest catechetical meeting in San Francisco took place at the Marin Civic Center on the 24th, with some 1800 people in attendance. The smallest get-together was undoubtedly the last one, on the 26th, with the small group who accompanied him to the airport to await the plane that would take him to Houston.

During his stay in Houston, from September 26 to 29, the Prelate of Opus Dei stayed at the seat of the Prelature’s Delegation. Early in the afternoon of Wednesday the 27th, he visited Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. Afterwards he went to the Holy Cross Chapel, a Catholic information center and chapel entrusted to the Prelature in the downtown area of the city.

Also on the 27th, some 150 Supernumeraries and Cooperators, from cities in Texas and other cities (Chicago, St. Louis, and even Mexico City) took part in a meeting with the Prelate at 8:00 p.m. in the Houston City Club. On the following day there was a general gathering for the public in the Grand Plaza Hotel of Houston, with over 2,500 people attending. At the end Bishop Echevarría met with a number of families.

He also set aside time to meet with young people; for example, on the 28th, in the afternoon, he visited Swift, where faithful of the Work organize formative activities for students. The Prelate spoke to the boys first in English and then in Spanish. That same morning he had given an interview to a television network that broadcasts in Spanish.

On the morning of the 29th he left by plane for New York, where he stopped for a few hours before his return trip to Europe.


Bishop Echevarría made a four day trip to Lebanon to give encouragement to the faithful of Opus Dei and friends there after the recent war. His pastoral visit to the country of the cedars began on Wednesday, October 11.
“During the war,” the Prelate said, “we prayed a lot for this country, along with so many other Christians. We suffered with you and for you. This recent experience should encourage everyone to spread peace in their ordinary life, which is now becoming possible once again. You have to be, as the founder of Opus Dei said, sowers of peace and joy.”

The work of Opus Dei in Lebanon began in a stable way in 1996. Those attending the means of formation offered by the faithful of the Prelature there include not only Catholics of different rites but also Christians of various denominations and people of other religions.

Bishop Echevarría visited the Al Tilal International Center of Formation, situated in the mountains of Byblos, 25 miles north of Beirut. The Prelate met with those responsible for the center and with people who take part in its activities and with families in the area. These included people of different religions. Bishop Echevarría encouraged all of them to pray for peace. Imploring God for this gift, he said, was the best way to preserve it. He visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, in Harissa, to pray for peace. There he was able to greet some families who take part in the means of formation directed by people of Opus Dei.

Bishop Echevarría also had a chance to meet with the Maronite Bishop Béchara Raï of Jbeil (Byblos), with whom he spoke about various initiatives to help the lay faithful assume their responsibilities in the building up of the Catholic Church in Lebanon and the Middle East. The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Gatti, and the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, also received the Prelate of Opus Dei. The Patriarch was especially interested in the social development activities carried out at Al Tilal.
Pastoral Trips

On July 8 and 9, the Fifth World Congress of Families was celebrated in Valencia, presided over by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The Prelate of Opus Dei was present at the ceremonies. In addition, he met with faithful of Opus Dei in the Valencia region and visited a number of people suffering from illnesses.

He arrived in Valencia on Friday, July 7. On the morning of the 8th, he went to the Cathedral to participate with many other bishops and priests in the welcoming ceremony for Benedict XVI. In the afternoon, he took part in the vigil for the World Congress of Families. Before the ceremony began, he was interviewed by a television network. On Sunday the 9th, the Prelate of Opus Dei concelebrated at the closing Mass of the Congress presided over by the Pope, together with many cardinals, bishops, and priests from around the world.

On Sunday afternoon, after the Holy Father had begun his return trip to Rome, the Prelate had a meeting with the vicars of all the delegations of Spain, at the seat of the delegation of the Prelature in Valencia. A little later, at Valencia’s Trade Fair Pavilion, he had a get-together with a large group of women of the Prelature. On the next day he had a similar meeting for men in the same place. He also had catechetical meetings with young people on the 10th in the Guadalaviar School in Valencia, and El Vedat School in Torrent, a few miles from Valencia.

On the 10th he went to pray to La Virgen de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken) at her basilica, a traditional focus of Marian piety in the Valencian region; he also visited the provisional site of a parish dedicated to St. Josemaría and the construction site of the new church, scheduled to be inaugurated in the coming year.

On Tuesday, July 11, at ten in the morning, he made a brief visit to the church of San Juan del Hospital to view a recently installed image of St. Josemaría. Afterwards he went to the archbishop’s residence where he visited Valencia’s Archbishop Agustín García-Gasco. After this meeting he left for Madrid.


The Prelate of Opus Dei was in Kenya and Uganda at the end of August.

He arrived in Nairobi on August 24. The following day he presided over the graduation ceremony at Strathmore University. He was given an honorary doctorate and presented awards to the students who had finished their studies.

On the 26th, in the esplanade in front of Strathmore University, he took part in a catechetical gathering with some 3,000 people and answered questions from those present. One of the questioners was a Hindu man who had worked in the construction of the oratories of some of the centers of Opus Dei in Nairobi. He said that people had always insisted that the oratories had to be done “with perfection,” with special care. His question was: “Why such insistence?” The Prelate explained that, for Catholics, the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist is very important. Therefore it is a duty to treat him well, even in material things. Churches and oratories, he said, have to reflect that love.

In Nairobi, the Prelate of Opus Dei greeted Archbishop Raphael Ndingi, and the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop John Njue. In addition, he had get-togethers with members of the Prelature in Strathmore School and blessed an oratory in a retreat center entrusted to the spiritual care of the Prelature.

Bishop Echevarría spent August 27 to 29 in Uganda. About a thousand people attended a get-together with him in the Kampala Serena Hotel in the capital. He also had a meeting with young people in Bugala Study Centre, whose oratory he blessed, and in Teemba Study Centre. During his stay in Kampala he also visited the President of the Ugandan Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Matthias Ssekamanya.


The Prelate of Opus Dei arrived in New York on September 11. On the morning of the following day, Tuesday the 12th, he took part in meetings with the men’s and women’s governing bodies of the Prelature in the United States. At mid-day he greeted Bishop Robert Anthony Brucato, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of New York, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center. He also had get-togethers with boys and then with girls who take part in the formational work offered by Opus Dei. He encouraged them to give doctrine to their friends, one by one. “It’s a question of loving them, understanding them, and seeking how to help them, without being afraid what others may think.”

On Wednesday the 13th, the Prelate had get-togethers with faithful of Opus Dei and in the evening he met with more than two thousand people who filled the Manhattan Center auditorium. He spoke to them about God’s love for and nearness to each person and about forgiving one’s enemies. He also asked people to pray for the Pope.

Early in the morning on Thursday, September 14, Bishop Echevarría left by plane for Montreal.

Shortly after his arrival the Prelate received a number of families. On the following day he went to the Manoir de Beaujeu, a conference center about 30 miles from Montreal, to consecrate an oratory in a new pavilion housing a School of Hospitality. There the Prelate met with a group of married couples, whom he encouraged to form homes filled with affection and peace. On his return to Montreal in the afternoon, Bishop Echevarría met with Bishop Joseph Khoury, the Maronite Eparch of Canada. Afterwards he met with priests from various Canadian dioceses (Montreal, Longueuil, Kingston, St. Jerome, Ottawa, and Quebec), and also from the U.S. states of Vermont and Massachusetts. His main topic of conversation was love for the Holy Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation.

On Saturday, September 16, the Prelate spoke to a group of students about the importance of putting Christ into their studies and getting to know their faith better. In the evening he had a catechetical get-together with some 1,300 people in the Maisonneuve Theater in the Place des Arts. Bishop Echevarría said that he was very happy to be in Montreal and recalled that the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaría Escrivá, had prayed a lot for this country. At the end he invited those present to pray for the Pope and to read frequently the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

On Sunday the 17th, Bishop Echevarría left for Toronto. There he stayed at Ernescliff College, situated on the university campus. He took advantage of his stay to speak with the students living in the residence, reminding them of their serious obligation to study intensely as a preparation for their future lives. Afterwards, the Prelate met with a number of families from the Toronto area. A little later he had a get-together in the Roy Thomson Hall with some 1,700 people. There he stressed the importance of living a vigorous Christian life in the midst of the world. He also spoke about the need to pray for the dead.

On Monday the 18th, he visited Hawthorn, a school for girls. He was received by about 250 students with their parents and teachers. Later he had a meeting with priests and seminarians. He recalled that St. Josemaría had a great love for the Eucharist and for diocesan priests—among whom are included all the priests of Opus Dei, as secular priests—and he spoke of the importance of wearing clerical attire in order to give public witness of their availability to help and serve everyone. On the next day, after visiting Cardinal Aloysius Ambrosic, Archbishop of Toronto, he met with several groups of young people.

On Friday, September 22, Bishop Echevarría arrived in Vancouver. In Glenwood, the Center of Opus Dei where he stayed, he met with a number of families and small groups of students. On Saturday the 23rd, he met with about 900 people in the Westin Bayshore Hotel. The Prelate spoke about love for the Pope and the need to pray for him. He also asked people to pray for Opus Dei, an institution that exists, he said, to remind everyone that we can be saints in and through our ordinary life. He told them that Opus Dei was preparing to go to Russia, Vietnam, Rumania and Bulgaria. Afterwards, Bishop Echevarría went to see a piece of property at Britannia Beach, north of Vancouver, which hopefully will become the site of a future conference center. He blessed the land and prayed for abundant apostolic fruit. On the return trip, while admiring a view of the city, he said it was one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen.

On the afternoon of September 23, Bishop Echevarría arrived in San Francisco, after a flight from Vancouver. His intense schedule the next few days made room for non-programmed visits with people who showed up spontaneously to see him. For example, on the 24th various families were waiting at the entrance to the theater where they knew he was to meet with young people; that same day, other families greeted him as he arrived at Trumbull Manor, a conference center in which the Prelate spent several hours. A group of boys who had traveled from San Diego also came to see him at Trumbull Manor.

On the 25th he had lunch with the Cardinal Archbishop of San Francisco in the Cardinal’s residence and, when leaving, made a brief visit to the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral.

He remained in the San Francisco area until the 26th. The Prelate visited both the men’s and women’s headquarters of the Prelature’s Delegation (Parkview and Rosewood), as well as Charwick and Menlough, two centers situated some miles south of San Francisco, in Atherton and Menlo Park respectively. On the way to Atherton they stopped in a cemetery to visit the graves of two women of Opus Dei. On his return, before leaving Silicon Valley, as the area is popularly known, he had a meeting in the Stanford Hotel with some 120 Supernumeraries and Cooperators.

The largest catechetical meeting in San Francisco took place at the Marin Civic Center on the 24th, with some 1800 people in attendance. The smallest get-together was undoubtedly the last one, on the 26th, with the small group who accompanied him to the airport to await the plane that would take him to Houston.

During his stay in Houston, from September 26 to 29, the Prelate of Opus Dei stayed at the seat of the Prelature’s Delegation. Early in the afternoon of Wednesday the 27th, he visited Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. Afterwards he went to the Holy Cross Chapel, a Catholic information center and chapel entrusted to the Prelature in the downtown area of the city.

Also on the 27th, some 150 Supernumeraries and Cooperators, from cities in Texas and other cities (Chicago, St. Louis, and even Mexico City) took part in a meeting with the Prelate at 8:00 p.m. in the Houston City Club. On the following day there was a general gathering for the public in the Grand Plaza Hotel of Houston, with over 2,500 people attending. At the end Bishop Echevarría met with a number of families.

He also set aside time to meet with young people; for example, on the 28th, in the afternoon, he visited Swift, where faithful of the Work organize formative activities for students. The Prelate spoke to the boys first in English and then in Spanish. That same morning he had given an interview to a television network that broadcasts in Spanish.

On the morning of the 29th he left by plane for New York, where he stopped for a few hours before his return trip to Europe.


Bishop Echevarría made a four day trip to Lebanon to give encouragement to the faithful of Opus Dei and friends there after the recent war. His pastoral visit to the country of the cedars began on Wednesday, October 11.

“During the war,” the Prelate said, “we prayed a lot for this country, along with so many other Christians. We suffered with you and for you. This recent experience should encourage everyone to spread peace in their ordinary life, which is now becoming possible once again. You have to be, as the founder of Opus Dei said, sowers of peace and joy.”

The work of Opus Dei in Lebanon began in a stable way in 1996. Those attending the means of formation offered by the faithful of the Prelature there include not only Catholics of different rites but also Christians of various denominations and people of other religions.

Bishop Echevarría visited the Al Tilal International Center of Formation, situated in the mountains of Byblos, 25 miles north of Beirut. The Prelate met with those responsible for the center and with people who take part in its activities and with families in the area. These included people of different religions. Bishop Echevarría encouraged all of them to pray for peace. Imploring God for this gift, he said, was the best way to preserve it. He visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, in Harissa, to pray for peace. There he was able to greet some families who take part in the means of formation directed by people of Opus Dei.

Bishop Echevarría also had a chance to meet with the Maronite Bishop Béchara Raï of Jbeil (Byblos), with whom he spoke about various initiatives to help the lay faithful assume their responsibilities in the building up of the Catholic Church in Lebanon and the Middle East. The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Gatti, and the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, also received the Prelate of Opus Dei. The Patriarch was especially interested in the social development activities carried out at Al Tilal.


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