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No. 57 • July - December 2013 • Page 284
 •  News

Saxum, a documentary about Bishop Alvaro del Portillo

A biographical documentary about the first successor to St. Josemaría as head of Opus Dei is now available. Entitled Saxum: Recollections of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, it runs for 30 minutes.

Saxum is the Latin word for “rock,” a word St. Josemaría frequently used to refer to Alvaro del Portillo. It was a way of expressing his reliance on him in carrying out Opus Dei.

Directed by Antonio Tormo and produced by Beta Foundation Films, it shows how Alvaro del Portillo put his virtues and talents at the service of his mission on earth: to seek holiness, first as an engineer, later as a priest, and finally as prelate and bishop.

As a student, Alvaro del Portillo took part in social assistance programs in poor sections of Madrid, and during the years he was at the head of Opus Dei he encouraged the start of many educational and social initiatives throughout the world. During the Second Vatican Council, he helped prepare for the Council sessions with his generous work, and was always available to carry out the requests of the successor of Peter. These are some of the reasons why John Paul II, as shown in the documentary, went to pray before the mortal remains of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo just a few hours after his death.

People offering testimony include Cardinal Julian Herranz (who assisted Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo during the Council), Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz (secretary of John Paul II), Bishop Javier Echevarría (current Prelate of Opus Dei and Don Alvaro’s closest co-worker), Isabel Sanchez (Central Secretary of Opus Dei), Teresa del Portillo (sister of Don Alvaro), Joaquin Navarro-Valls (director of the Holy See’s press office from 1984 to 2006), Elizabeth Waldstein (an organist), Colette Kenmogne (a housewife) and other people who had the opportunity to get to know him.

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