Rio de Janeiro -- (Brazil) Panel: What is Opus Dei?
A panel dedicated to some of the principal aspects of the message of Opus Dei was held in the auditorium of the John Paul II building of the Institute for Advanced Religious Studies of the Archdiocese of Rio De Janeiro on August 16, 2006. The panel included the testimony of people connected with the Prelature. The presentation was organized at the request of numerous people who wanted an objective reply to some recent confused information spread by certain communications media.
More than 500 people were in the audience. Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Augusto Dias Duarte of Rio de Janeiro opened the event by explaining in broad outline the history of the foundation of Opus Dei and its spirit and message.
Following this, Valeria Brito, a doctor, explained how she began to participate in the Work’s means of formation. With words of St. Josemaría, she said that “women are called to bring to the family, to society and to the Church, characteristics which are their own and which they alone can give: their gentle warmth and untiring generosity, their love for detail, their quick-wittedness and intuition, their simple and deep piety, their constancy... A woman’s femininity is genuine only if she is aware of the beauty of this contribution for which there is no substitute and if she incorporates it into her own life” (Conversations, no. 87). She also stressed the role of the Numerary Assistants, who by their care for the domestic tasks of the centers and the educational and apostolic works of Opus Dei, contribute to a family atmosphere, turning these places into bright and cheerful homes.
Oscar Rotava, a father of seven children and an engineer for Petrobras, said that coming to know the Work had allowed him to give continuity to the education he had received in childhood and adolescence and to encounter the broad horizons he needed for attaining Christian maturity in his personal, family and social life.
The fourth and last talk was by Henrique Cal, a student of medicine. In a simple and clear way, he recounted how he had first come to a center of Opus Dei and how he had begun to take part in the means of formation. In this context, he explained the different formative activities that are offered in the centers of the Work and the help they provide for people who want to live seriously their baptismal commitments.
Finally, an extensive dialogue was held with those present, which allowed them to clarify not only the subjects discussed in the panel, but also some other questions that in the past few months had been raised in the press.
Romana, No. 43, July-December 2006, p. 243-244.