In January 2001 Bishop Javier Echevarría, Opus Dei’s prelate, visited the Holy Land to meet with the prelature’s faithful and those taking part in the activities and spiritual formation the prelature offers. His main objective was personally to make known to them the prayer and closeness of other members, cooperators and friends, in the difficult situation that region is going through. Above all he wanted to bring them the blessing and encouragement of the Holy Father, who closely follows events in that part of the world.
At gatherings in Jerusalem and Nazareth, Bishop Echevarría spurred those attending to continue a generous sowing of joy, grounded in prayer. He urged people to spread understanding and peace to those around them, forgiving offenses and helping those most in need, even when this requires personal sacrifice.
Some faithful of the prelature and those frequenting Biranta Study Center, taking to heart suggestions made by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and by the prelate, helped to gather and distribute food and other essential items to the neediest families. People from all social sectors responded generously. In addition, a number of overseas companies agreed to help out financially; these funds were use to help alleviate the severe poverty of many families in and around Bethelehem.
United States and Mexico
Bishop Echevarría traveled to the United States in March, to take part in the episcopal ordination of Bishop José Gómez. In Denver he was able to meet with a good number of people who attend the means of Christian formation imparted by some of the Prelature’s faithful. He asked them to fulfill generously their Christian commitments and to be a strong support for the Church, carrying out their daily work with love.
Continuing on to Mexico, he took part in various work sessions with regional vicars, directors, priests and lay people of the prelature. Among other things, he shared with them what the Holy Father had said in the audience he granted to participants gathered to study Novo millennio ineunte. He encouraged everyone to undertake specific initiatives in keeping with that apostolic Letter.
On April 3 and April 4 Bishop Echevarría held several get-togethers with faithful of the Opus Dei prelature. He recalled the stay there of Blessed Josemaria in 1970, who had come to pray to our Lady of Guadalupe and to entrust to her care the Church and Opus Dei, its faithful and apostolates. He urged those present to be apostolic, prayerful and generous in their dedication to God and others. He also had the opportunity to visit the Guadalupe shrine to pray at the feet of Mexico’s patroness.
On his return from America on April 6, Bishop Echevarría was in Madrid to confer ordination as deacons on 24 of the prelature’s faithful in the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels. The bells of this church were those Blessed Josemaria heard ringing on October 2, 1928, when God let him see Opus Dei while he was making a retreat.
From June 27 to July 2, Opus Dei’s prelate, Bishop Echevarría, was in Pamplona, Spain, to spend time with the prelature’s faithful and to visit some sick people in the University Clinic.
On June 30 the Prelate blessed a new statue of the founder, in the patio of the main building of the University of Navarre. Many were able to view the ceremony from the patio itself and from the windows of the floors above the patio.
Previously Bishop Echevarría held a working session with the trustees and directors of the schools of theology, philosophy and canon law. He also met with the university’s Board of Governors and encouraged each of them to work in keeping with Blessed Josemaria’s spirit and therefore in complete agreement with the Church’s magisterium.
On Sunday, July 1, the Prelate took part in two get-togethers in the university’s large gymnasium with some 4,000 of the prelature’s faithful from the delegation of Pamplona. On both occasions he extensively referred to the Gospel words duc in altum (“launch out into the deep”), on which the Holy Father commented at length in the apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte. He also encouraged everyone to prepare for celebrating the centennial of Blessed Josemaria.
Romana, No. 32, January-June 2001, p. 47-48.