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Pastoral Trips

Bishop Echevarria arrived in Pamplona on Friday, June 30. On Sunday, July 2, he celebrated Holy Mass in the Goroabe Student Residence at the University of Navarre. In his homily he encouraged his listeners to renew their spirit of conversion and to meditate on the reality that Christ shed all of his blood for each one of us.

On the following day, the Prelate visited various patients in the University Hospital. On his return he visited and blessed the new seat of the Miravalles student residence. In the evening he received various families and held a meeting with students of the Aralar Interregional Center.
On Tuesday, July 4, after celebrating Mass, Bishop Echevarría left for the Shrine of Torreciudad in Huesca, to confer the diaconate on 21 faithful of the Prelature from eight countries. He remained there for six days, and dedicated many hours to the future deacons, between talks, classes and other gatherings. He also visited a photographic exposition commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Shrine.

On July 7, coinciding with the anniversary of Torreciudad, the ordination ceremony took place. In his homily, the Prelate manifested his “thankfulness to God the Father, rich in mercy, because in the course of 25 years he has poured out his pardon abundantly in this Shrine, enabling a multitude of men and women to experience the joy of returning to God.” In the evening he met with the families of the new deacons.

On the next morning, he met with young people who were working on the restoration and upkeep of the surrounding area, brought there through centers of Opus Dei in various countries. He also met with the members of the governing board of the Miraflores Student Residence, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Saragossa residence. He also met with the people who work at the Shrine of Torreciudad on a permanent basis.

On the evening of the 8th he attended a recital of the Donostiarra choral group on the occasion of the Shrine’s 25th anniversary, and he greeted the various officials who had come for the celebration.
On Sunday, July 9, he left for Fombuena, in the province of Saragossa. He prayed at the parish church where Blessed Josemaria had officiated during Holy Week of 1927. From there he went on to Saragossa where he stopped to pray at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar.

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In August the Prelate of Opus Dei visited the Republic of Argentina. The principal purpose of this trip was to preside at a formational conference for members of the Regional Councils of the Prelature of various countries, which took place at the Conference Center of “La Chacra,” some twenty miles from the Argentine capital. This was where Blessed Josemaria had stayed in 1974.

While there he took advantage of the opportunity to become more directly acquainted with some of the apostolic initiatives of faithful of Opus Dei in Buenos Aires, and to meet with different groups of faithful of the Prelature. This included a visit to the Madero Institute, a center for the professional formation of workers and technicians. Since 1999, a high school has also formed part of this center.

In the gatherings that he held during these weeks, Bishop Echevarría recalled the audience that he had with the Holy Father before leaving Rome, in which the Pope told him that he “sent his blessing for all of the apostolic works and for each of the persons that he would see.”
The Prelate also visited the campus of Austral University in the community of Pilar, some thirty miles from Buenos Aires. There he had a meeting with the personnel of the University Hospital, which was recently inaugurated, and with the Institute of Advanced Business Studies.

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On September 12, Bishop Echevarría traveled to the United States. As soon as he reached New York he went to “Murray Hill Place,” the new regional headquarters of the Opus Dei Prelature in the United States, located in Manhattan.

During his four day stay, he met with various groups of faithful of Opus Dei and persons participating in the formational means given in various cities on the East Coast. Invited by Cardinal Hickey, Bishop Echevarría took part in the blessing of the chapel of the “Catholic Information Center” of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., which is dedicated to Blessed Josemaria. At the Mass, together with Cardinal Hickey, the concelebrants were Bishop Echevarría, Bishop Loverde of Arlington, Auxiliary Bishop Lori of Washington, and Msgr. Ocariz, Vicar General of Opus Dei. [4]

The operation of the Catholic Information Center was entrusted to priests of the Opus Dei Prelature in 1992 by Cardinal Hickey. The chapel has seating for about one hundred people. Holy Mass is celebrated daily and the sacrament of confession is available for those desiring it.

In Washington, the Prelate visited The Heights School, a school established by faithful of the Prelature in Potomac, Maryland. There he spoke with those involved in running the school, emphasizing the importance of charity as the foundation of all educational efforts and insisting on the habitual practice of fraternal correction as an integral part of that charity. He also visited the Oakcrest School, a school for girls in northern Virginia, at its new campus in the suburban community of McLean.

[4] See his full intervention on page 270.

Romana, No. 31, July-December 2000, p. 228-230.