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Theological Congress in Fatima

Four hundred people, among them about a hundred priests, gathered in the Paul VI Center at the Shrine of Fatima, on April 15 and 16, to reflect on selected themes from the encyclical Novo Millennio Ineunte of John Paul II and on the message of Blessed Josemaría.

The symposium began on the 15th with an inaugural greeting from Bishop Serafim Ferreira e Silva, of Leiria-Fatima. Following this, Msgr. Antonio Barbosa, Regional Vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Portugal, read a message from Bishop Javier Echevarría to the participants in the symposium.

The first conference, by Archbishop Julian Herranz, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, was on «Blessed Josemaría as a protagonist of the Second Vatican Council.»

On the morning of April 16, a panel entitled «A Response to the Challenges of the Third Millennium» was chaired by Professor Pio Alves de Sousa, from the Catholic University of Portugal. The panel’s subject was identification with Christ and sanctity in the middle of the world. In the afternoon a round table on the topic «Priests and Laity: organic cooperation in the Church and in the World,» was moderated by the journalist Graça Franco.

In connection with the symposium, a biographical exposition on the founder of Opus Dei was held, which especially recalled his various visits to the Shrine of Fatima. Blessed Josemaría came as a pilgrim to Fatima on more than ten occasions, the first of these at the invitation of Sor Lucia.

Among those present at the symposium were Bishop August Cesar of Portalegre-Castelo Branco, Bishop Jacinto Botelho, of Lamego, and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Braga, Carlos Pinheiro.

Romana, No. 34, January-June 2002, p. 115.