Closing of the centennial year
January 9, 2002 marked the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Founder of Opus Dei. To commemorate this event, between that date and January 9, 2003, activities were organized in many countries where St. Josemaría is known through his books and teachings.
The centennial of St. Josemaria’s birth concluded in Rome with a Mass celebrated by the Prelate of Opus Dei in the Basilica of St. Eugene on this past January 9th. Bishop Echevarría recalled that among the many gifts received during the past year, the most notable was that of the canonization of Josemaría Escriva on October 6. He invited those present to thank God for “all the gifts that he has granted us.” Around January 9, Masses were also celebrated in honor of St. Josemaria in cities in various countries.
The first act of the centennial was the International Congress on “The Greatness of Ordinary Life,” organized by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, which took place in Rome from January 8 to 11, 2002. Some 1200 participants of 57 nationalities took part for the purpose of studying various topics—the family, education, social integration—in light of the message of Josemaria Escriva. More than 100 conferences and round tables took place during the days of the congress.
In the context of the celebration of the centennial, during this year people from various countries undertook many service initiatives, moved by the desire to improve the living conditions of those around them and thus make it easier for many people to get closer to God and discover the joy of Christian life. Thus was born the Institute for Industrial Technology in Lagos, Nigeria, the Moluka medical clinic in Kinshasa, Congo, the agricultural and stock raising school Guatanfur in Temza, Colombia, the medical dispensary Anauco in Caracas, Venezuela, the Los Pinos educational center in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Centenario medical clinic in Monterrey, Mexico, the Braval program of professional formation for immigrants, and the Laguna care center in Madrid, Spain. Along the same lines, the organizing committee for the canonization of St. Josemaria established the “Harambee 2002” project, a solidarity fund destined to finance educational programs in Africa.
Throughout 2002, other congresses, study days and conferences have dealt with questions related to the teachings of Josemaria Escriva. A few example are: "The Christian in the Secular World" (Washington D.C.), "Le travail, chemin de sainteté" (Abidjan, Ivory Coast), "Mitteleuropäischen Kongress zum 100. Geburtstag des Seligen Josemaría Escrivá" (a congress which took place successively in Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Zagreb), "La dottrina sociale della Chiesa e il beato Josemaría Escrivá" (Nápoles, Italy), "Santidade no terceiro milénio, um desafio ao alcance de todos" (Fátima, Portugal), "Le matérialisme chrétien de Josemaría Escrivá" (Brussels, Belgium), "Hacia una educación más humana" (San José, Costa Rica), "Deux citès: cité terrestre, cité céleste" (at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris).
In January 2002, an exposition about Josemaria Escriva was held at the basilica of Notre Dame des Victoires, in París, which included posters, videos, books and other documents. This exposition later traveled to Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Bordeaux and Strassbourg. Similar expositions took place in schools, churches and various locations in
Macao, Hong Kong, Abidjan, London (in Westminster Cathedral), Barbastro, Chicago, Madrid, Manila, Melbourne... We might also mention the dedication of a church to St. Josemaría in the diocese of Barbastro.
The centennial year also saw the publication of the critical-historical edition of The Way, Josemaria Escriva most widely distributed book. Since its appearance more than four million copies have been sold. On the occasion of the centennial, various special editions of The Way were published. In December 2002, the first bilingual edition in Guarani and Spanish appeared in Paraguay. An Internet web page with the published writings of the new saint was also inaugurated.
Romana, No. 36, January-June 2003, p. 0.