Devotion Throughout the World
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Opus Dei’s apostolic work in Australia, a conference was held on May 11 in Sydney. The topic was: “Fifty years living the message of St. Josemaría Escrivá.” Among other speakers, Cardinal George Pell expressed his conviction that the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially those dealing with the laity, were influenced by the spirit of Opus Dei. “St. Josemaría saw this message, by divine inspiration, several decades before the Council, and was considered by many to be a precursor of these teachings at the Council.” He added that the teachings of St. Josemaría were helping many faithful today “to discover the redemptive force of the faith and its capacity --to transform the world.” Also speaking was Mrs. Suzanne Twyford, one of the first organizers of the Pared Foundation, which has given rise to various schools in Sydney, among them Tangara School for Girls. During the congress a new video was shown in which various faithful of the Prelature explain how their family, social and work life have been enriched by the message of St. Josemaría, imbuing their lives with a stronger faith. Among them were a chef, a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer and his wife, a marketing manager, and others from different cultures, including China, Lebanon, and Uruguay.
On June 26, 2012, at the end of the Mass of St. Josemaría in the parish of Canals in Valencia, the pastor told the director of the Escora Youth Club of his intention to place a painting of St. Josemaría in a side chapel presided over by a statue of St. Joseph and which also has a painting of Our Lady of the Abandoned. He said that thanks to Escora, which recently celebrated its golden anniversary, many parishioners at Canals were living the spirituality of the saint and had devotion to him. He thought that a good day to bless the painting would be the following October 6, the tenth anniversary of his canonization. The painter chosen for the work was José Manuel Pozo Serrano. For various reasons the painting could not be finished until November, and so the pastor decided that the ceremony of blessing and installation would take place at the main Mass on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
In a different part of Spain, the parish council at Santiago el Real in Logroño made known in the parish bulletin dated November 18, 2012, that one of the side altars in the church would be dedicated to St. Josemaría. The chapel installed there will have, as a reredos, a painting of the saint by the artist Sister Isabel Guerra.
When the study entitled “St. Josemaría, Teacher of Forgiveness” appeared in issues 52 and 53 of Romana, a group of young professionals in Honduras decided to spread the founder of Opus Dei’s teachings on this topic. After several months of preparation, they invited the author of the article, Jaime Cardenas, to visit the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in Honduras during the first week of December 2012, on the occasion of the launching in the country of the Novena to St. Josemaría for the Family by Francisco Faus. Jaime Cardenas was interviewed on a television program and in the daily paper El Heraldo. In speaking of the teachings of the founder of Opus Dei on forgiveness and love for others, Cardenas emphasized the importance of valuing each person as a child of God. Each human being is “the bearer of a core of dignity that not even sin can erase.” In answer to the question “How can we learn to forgive?” the speaker stressed the importance of the theological virtue of charity as the source of forgiveness: “What we really have to learn is how to have affection, how to love: first God and, in him, to learn to love our neighbor, even if someone offends us. If you don’t love, you can’t forgive.”
He also gave an address in Tegucigalpa to more than 600 people, and in San Pedro Sula to an audience of more than 500. The framework of the conference, the launching of the Novena to St. Josemaría for the Family, allowed Cardenas to emphasize the role of the family as the place where one learns to forgive and to grasp the intricacies of human relationships, since it is where we learn to be grateful, to be humble and understanding towards others.
On May 8, a bronze bell was installed in the chapel at the University of Parma. It was blessed by Bishop Enrico Solmi, accompanied by the chaplain of the university, Father Umberto Cocconi. The bell, which is dedicated to our Lady, has relief sculptures of the Miraculous Medal and of three saints: St. Peter Damien, St. Thomas the Apostle, and St. Josemaría. It weighs a hundred pounds, has a circumference of 21.3 inches and sounds the note “re.”
In addition, during the month of April, a painting of the founder of Opus Dei was installed in a chapel of the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Naples. A scenic overlook on the island of Ischia and a plaza in Alcamo, a Sicilian community, were also dedicated to him.
On June 26, a statue of St. Josemaría was blessed in the parish of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Bucharest. Archbishop Ioan Robu formally blessed the statue, sculpted in stone by Etsuro Sotoo, a Japanese artist who is working on the Basilica of the Holy Family in Barcelona. At St. Theresa’s, Holy Mass has been celebrated on the feast of St. Josemaría for the past several years. The statue was presented by a parishioner who wanted to thank God for the help he had received through the founder of Opus Dei. It has been placed in the nearby parish garden, close to the school.