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Around June 26

The feast of Blessed Josemaría, on June 26, was celebrated in churches throughout the world, from Asia and Australia to North and South America. One of the points furthest east in which a Mass in his honor was celebrated was in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, where Archbishop Joseph Ti-kang of Taipei officiated at the Holy Sacrifice for about a hundred faithful.

It was possible to attend a Mass in honor of the Founder of Opus Dei in or around June 26 in almost any country of Europe. In Italy the feast of Blessed Josemaría was liturgically celebrated in many of the large cities. In Modena and Ferrara, to cite two historic cities, Archbishops Benito Cocchi and Carlo Caffarra respectively presided over the Eucharistic celebrations in their cathedrals, as did many other local bishops. Celebrations were also held in many small villages and suburban areas such as Sesto San Giovanni in the industrial outskirts of Milan, where Father Marco Busca, a priest of the Prelature, celebrated a Mass for some two hundred people in the Basilica of San Esteban.

In Poland, Masses were celebrated in various dioceses including Warsaw-Praga (a suffragan diocese of Warsaw), Krakow, and Lublin. Bishop Kazimierz Romaniuk of Warsaw-Praga was the principal celebrant at the first of these.

Some 350 people also participated in the Mass in honor of Blessed Josemaría in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Archbishop Josip Bozanic concelebrated with a large number of priests in the Church of St. Peter.

In Germany Cardinal Johannes Joachim Degenhardt, Archbishop of Paderborn, celebrated a Mass in Honor of Blessed Josemaría on June 17 in the Capuchin Church. The Regional Vicar of Opus Dei, Dr. Christoph Bockamp, and a number of diocesan priests concelebrated. On June 21 there was a Mass in Saint Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin, celebrated by Archbishop Cardinal Georg Sterzinsky, who also attended the reception following the Mass.

Archbishop Zakarias Kamwenho of Lubango, President of the Bishop’s Conference of Angola and São Tomé, presided over a concelebration on the 26th in the Oratory of Blessed Josemaría, next to the Montes Claros University Residence in Lisbon. In his homily he recalled that during his years in the seminary, the students alternated between reading The Imitation of Christ and The Way during lunch. He expressed his desire that the Prelature would soon begin activities in Angola. At the end of the ceremony a relic ex ossibus of Blessed Josemaría was venerated.

Msgr. Philippe Jourdan, Vicar General of the Apostolic Administration of Estonia, concelebrated Mass in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Tallinn. The congregation was about a hundred people. After the readings, in Russian as well as Estonian, Msgr. Jourdan spoke of the significance of the saints in the Church and concluded by inviting all those present to take part in the canonization ceremony for Josemaría Escrivá, set for the coming 6th of October. In Estonia this year a Mass in honor of Blessed Josemaría was also celebrated for the first time in Tartu, the ancient capital of the country and the seat of an historic university.

The founder of Opus Dei’s feast was also celebrated liturgically in various parts of Africa. The cathedral of Dar-es-salaam, for example, was the scene of a crowded Mass in honor of Blessed Josemaría. And this was not the only city of Tanzania in which his feast was celebrated, even though the Prelature of Opus Dei has not yet begun a stable apostolate in that country. In the Ivory Coast there were Masses in Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, as in previous years, and also for the first time in the city of Yopougon. More than 1500 people attended, including members of the Prelature, Cooperators, and friends. In Douala in Cameroun the feast of Blessed Josemaría was commemorated this year for the first time with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Christian Tumi on June 27.

In the Church of San José de la Montaña in the city of San Salvador a Eucharistic concelebration in honor of Blessed Josemaría on June 26th was presided over by Metropolitan Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle. And in Barranquilla, Colombia, a Eucharistic concelebration was presided over by Archbishop Ruben Salazar. Some 400 faithful filled the Church of Our Lady of Grace of Torcoroma, one of the best known churches in the city.

In Manila’s Cathedral, Holy Mass for Blessed Josemaría was celebrated on June 26th by the military Ordinary, Bishop Ramon Argüelles. In Cebu, the Mass was also celebrated in the Cathedral, with Cardinal Ricardo Vidal officiating.

Romana, No. 34, January-June 2002, p. 122-124.