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The Church studies the sanctity of Jose Maria Hernandez Garnica

The process of canonization of the priest and engineer, José María Hernández Garnica (1913-1972), opened on February 28 in Madrid, his native city. The opening ceremony, presided over by Auxiliary Bishop César Franco Martinez, took place in the Pontifical Basilica of St. Michael.

Speaking to those present, including a large number of the candidate’s relatives, Bishop Franco stressed the close tie between Fr. José María and St. Josemaría Escrivá. “It is very beautiful,” he said, “to see in all the Church’s foundations and apostolic works the fruits of Christian life and of holiness that the witness of the founder’s heroic life in the service of God and men brings forth.” For his part, José Carlos Martin de la Hoz, director of the Office for the Causes of Saints of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Spain, and postulator of the cause, underlined among other features Fr. José María’s generous response to God’s call, the centrality of the Mass in his life, his apostolic fruitfulness, his humility, his frankness and his union with the founder of Opus Dei, “who placed great trust in him.”

José María Hernández Garnica was one of the first faithful of Opus Dei (he asked for admission to the Work in 1935) and one of those who worked closest with the founder. In addition to being a mining engineer, he held doctorates in Natural Science and in Theology. He was also one of the three first members of the Work to be ordained a priest, together with Alvaro del Portillo and José Luis Múzquiz, in 1944. Soon afterwards, St. Josemaría placed him in charge of the apostolic work of Opus Dei with women. Later, starting in 1957, St. Josemaría asked him to take responsibility for Opus Dei’s development in England, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands. He died with a reputation for sanctity on December 7, 1972, in Barcelona.

Romana, No. 40, January-June 2005, p. 135-136.