Pastoral trips: Spain (Pamplona), France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Slovenia, Croatia, Spain, (Barcelona)
From June 30 to July 3, Bishop Echevarría was in Pamplona, Spain. On the morning of July 1st, he visited the Medical Research Center (Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada [CIMA]) and spent some time with patients at the University Hospital. On the 2nd he had a number of meetings with faithful of the Prelature.
On Saturday, July 3, on the way to Bilbao’s Sondika airport, he stopped at Islabe, a center for formation that has recently been remodeled. From Bilbao he flew to París.
In Paris, on the morning of July 4, he prayed at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. Early that afternoon he had a get-together with faithful of the Prelature at Garnelles, a center of Opus Dei in the French capital. Shortly afterwards he flew to the German city of Düsseldorf.
He spent July 4 to 26 at a conference center in Solingen. He left there on July 18 for Belgium, and from there on the 21st went to Holland and the 24th to Cologne, for get-togethers with faithful of the Prelature.
From July 26 to August 4, Opus Dei’s Prelate made a pastoral trip to the Baltic countries and Finland, where he visited with bishops of various dioceses. He took part in two receptions that Archbishop Peter Zurbriggen, Nuncio Apostolic for the Baltic States and Apostolic Administrator of Estonia, organized at the seat of the Apostolic Nunciature in Vilnius, Lithuania , on July 27, and in Tallinn, Estonia, on the 31st. The second reception was attended by all the priests of the Apostolic Administration of Estonia.
Bishop Echevarría also had pastoral meetings with a large number of families in various cities. He celebrated Mass for the first time in a center of the Work in Riga, Latvia, a city in which stable activity of the Prelature had begun a few weeks earlier. In Finland, on August 3, he met with members of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross who are carrying out pastoral work in the vicinity of St. Petersburg, in Russia.
On August 26, Bishop Echevarría arrived in Slovenia. On the following day he went to pray at the national shrine of Marija Pomagaj, Patroness of Slovenia. He was met there by the rector of the Basilica. That morning he was able to greet the archdiocesan administrator in Ljubljana, whose see is currently vacant. In the afternoon he chatted with university students who take part in apostolic activities, and on the 27th he met with a number of Slovenian families in a meeting room of the hotel where he was staying.
On August 28 he went to Trieste, Italy, an hour’s drive from Ljubljana, and there he had a get-together with people who take part in the means of formation provided by the Prelature. On the following day, after additional meetings in Ljubljana, he left for Zagreb.
August 29 to September 1st was spent in Croatia. There he met with faithful of the Prelature and with many others who take part in the means of formation. He also visited the Nuncio and the Cardinal Archbishop and prayed in the Cathedral and in the Marian Shrine of Remete.
From September 16 to 20, Bishop Echevarría was in Barcelona. He met with the Council of the Delegation of the Prelature in Barcelona. He received numerous families and spoke with several sick members of the Prelature. He also visited a number of centers of the Prelature in Barcelona and Tarragona.
On the afternoon of Friday the 17th, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, he officiated with Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, at the blessing of a relief sculpture of St. Josemaría recently installed next to the alcove of our Lady. The sculpture commemorates the prayer of the Founder of Opus Dei in the basilica in June 1946, before beginning his trip to Rome to request canonical approval of the Work from the Holy See.
On Saturday, September 18, in the morning he had a get-together at Viaro High School attended by several thousand people. The Prelate asked those present to pray and mortify themselves with generosity for His Holiness John Paul II and his intentions.
On Sunday afternoon, in the Cathedral of Tarragona, Archbishop Monteiro de Castro, Papal Nuncio to Spain, Archbishop Martínez Sistach of Barcelona, and Bishop Echevarría conferred episcopal ordination on Most Reverend Jaume Pujol, as the new Archbishop of Tarragon. Also taking part in the ceremony were Bishop Javier Salinas of Tortosa and Bishop Juan Vives of Urgell.
Early on September 20, Bishop Echevarría flew back to Rome from Barcelona’s El Prat airport.
Romana, No. 39, July-December 2004, pag. 178-179.