Commemorative issues of stamps
On January 9, the first Italian Euros stamp dedicated to Josemaría Escrivá was issued. The presentation took place on the previous evening at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. The Italian Minister for Communications, Maurizio Gasparri, stated that «the continuity in time of the undertakings inspired by the founder of Opus Dei makes this philatelic issue on the centennial of his birth very fitting.» The Minister of Communications gave a case with the new stamp and illustrative documentation to the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Echevarría, who thanked the Minister for this gesture and noted that this sign of institutional recognition by the Italian government was a just return for the deep affection the founder had always shown towards Italy: «an affection that has now become an efficacious intercession from heaven for all Italians.» The stamp shows a picture of Blessed Josemaría on the left, and on the right an allegorical representation of his ideal of enlivening human society with Christian values. The Philatelic Department of Rome also said that a special cancellation stamp would be provided for the date of emission containing the words «Centennial of the birth of Josemaría Escriva, Founder of Opus Dei.»
In Uruguay, the National Postal Administration issued four stamps dedicated to Blessed Josemaría with a printing of 60,000 stamps. The painting is by the Uruguayan artist Gerardo Barrabino. The presentation of the stamp took place at the seat of the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal.
Brazil also issued a commemorative stamp for the centennial of the birth of the founder of Opus Dei. It was presented publicly on the occasion of the closing of an academic ceremony organized by the University Extension Center of São Paulo, which had as its theme the influence of Blessed Josemaría’s message on the world of culture. The stamp, rectangular in shape, included a profile of Blessed Josemaría on a background representing the Basilica of Nossa Senhora de Aparecida do Norte, the patroness of Brazil. This recalls the visit that the founder made to this shrine during his stay in Brazil in June 1975. The stamp includes a phrase with which Blessed Josemaria praised Brazil for its great cultural and racial diversity: «a great mother who opens her arms to all and calls all of them her children.»
In Spain the Post Office of Barbastro began using of a commemorative cancellation stamp that included the centennial seal and the words «Barbastro January 9, 2002.» Envelopes were also printed that showed a picture of Blessed Josemaria’s last public appearance, which took place in the City Hall of Barbastro on May 25, 1975. During that ceremony he was awarded the city’s gold medal.
The centennial was also celebrated in Paraguay and Costa Rica with the issue of a stamp. The Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Post Office organized a ceremony of presentation at the Philatelic Museum in the central post office of San Jose. The ceremony was attended by the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Antonio Sozzo; by the Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in Costa Rica, Rev. Luis Baura; and by a number of government officials.
Romana, No. 34, January-June 2002, p. 113-114.