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Conference on “Faith and the World” in Valladolid (October 24, 2009)

The Congress Hall of the Exhibition Center in Valladolid was the scene of the “Faith and the World” conference, convoked to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the apostolic work of Opus Dei in that city.

The program included presentations by Pablo Perez, professor of Contemporary History at the University of Valladolid; Paola Binetti, a senator in the Italian Parliament; and Juan Manuel Mora, vice-rector of the University of Navarra.

Professor Perez described the arrival of the Work in Valladolid at the end of the 1930’s. “Although St. Josemaría never lived in Valladolid, he visited the city on 61 occasions,” he said. The founder and other members of Opus Dei traveled frequently, in those first years, from Madrid to Valladolid, as well as to other cities, to make this new spirit known to friends and acquaintances. The beginning of stable work in Valladolid took place in an apartment called “El Rincón” [the Corner], on Montero Calvo Street, in 1941. Corporate apostolic works in the city now include the Peñafiel Student Residence, inaugurated in 1981. The first successor of St. Josemaría, Don Álvaro del Portillo, visited Valladolid in 1988, and the present Prelate in 2005.

In her talk, Paola Binetti stressed St. Josemaría’s teachings about the marvelous ideals of peace and solidarity, and the promotion of human dignity.

“In Opus Dei we don’t have a pessimistic view of society,” insisted Professor Mora in his address. “We feel very comfortable in a democratic and secular society, in which one’s own convictions can and should be explained reasonably and not imposed on others. As was the case with St. Josemaria, we are interested in finding points of agreement, listening to others, not feeling ourselves to be anti-anything or anti-anybody. We need to show the warm and friendly face of Christianity in social as well as in personal dialogue.”

Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 327-328.