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Pastoral Trips: Valencia (Spain), Almaty (Kazakhstan)

The Prelate of Opus Dei spent a few days in Valencia, at the beginning of the summer, for the dedication ceremony of the parish of St. Josemaría.

On Saturday, June 30, shortly after his arrival in Valencia, he went to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken. There he was received by the Rector, who took him to the alcove of our Lady where he could pray close to the statue. That same day, in the afternoon, he had a get-together with a large number of people at the Valencian Exposition Center.

The ceremony of dedication of the parish took place on the morning of Sunday, July 1. It was presided over by Archbishop Agustín García-Gasco of Valencia. Following the ceremony, the Prelate went to the Archbishop's residence, where he spoke with the Archbishop. In the afternoon he went to the Xabec Center for Professional Formation, a corporative apostolate of Opus Dei that was established in connection with the canonization of St. Josemaría.

On Monday morning, July 2, Bishop Echevarría met again with various groups of faithful of Opus Dei from the Valencian region and, in the afternoon, left for Madrid.

Bishop Echevarría spent the 19th and the 20th of October, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where faithful of the Prelature have been working since 1997.

During his stay he met with people of Opus Dei and others who take part in the Prelature’s formative activities. Among those present were not only Catholics but also Orthodox and non-Christians, some of them from the Muslim tradition. He encouraged everyone to take advantage of their own work as a place to find God.

He also visited the Catholic Cathedral, the only parish in Almaty. In the choir of the Church he was shown some liturgical objects that, during the time of Soviet domination, had been piously preserved by the Catholics of Almaty and neighboring localities. Afterward the Prelate visited the diocesan bishop, the Most Reverend Henry T. Howaniec, OFM.

During his brief visit to Almaty he also prayed before a reproduction of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which is venerated in the Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension of the Lord.

Romana, No. 45, July-December 2007, pag. 270.