Words of the Prelate to the faithful of Opus Dei on the occasion of the beatification

On January 22, with the announcement of the date and place for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, Bishop Echevarría wrote these brief words of thanksgiving.

My dear children: may Jesus watch over my daughters and sons for me!

With great gratitude to God, I want to inform you that yesterday afternoon, shortly after returning from India, I received confirmation that the Holy Father Francis has decreed, accepting my petition (given the large number of people who wish to attend the beatification of our beloved Venerable Don Alvaro), that the ceremony will take place in Madrid, on September 27, 2014. This year will also coincide with the centennial of his birth in the capital of Spain on March 11, 1914. Moreover, in accord with the praxis in force since September 20, 2005 (when Benedict XVI established that the Pope would preside only over canonization ceremonies), the beatification will be celebrated by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato.

Although other details regarding the various ceremonies in Madrid and Rome will be made more specific later, I wanted to transmit this news to you, which should fill us with joy, at the same time as we want to use it for the glory of God, and the service of the Church and souls.

I ask that, in this time of special joy, you unite yourselves to my gratitude to the Pope, for his decision that the beatification will go forward of this bishop (for all of us, in years past, a brother; and later Father) who loved and served the Holy Church so much. From now on let us entrust to Don Alvaro the intentions of the Holy Father: the renewed apostolic spirit and service to God of all Christians, the concern and care for the most needy, the upcoming Synod on the family, the holiness of priests, and so many petitions that he asks the People of God to pray for.

I suggest that you take advantage of these months prior to the beatification (I too will do so) to follow more closely in the footsteps of Don Alvaro: in fidelity to our Lord, to the Church, to the Pope, to St. Josemaría, to his brothers and sisters, to his friends, to his sons and daughters in the Work. In considering once again so many bright lights from his life, and getting to know his writings better, let us try to imitate his love for God and others, his desire to fulfill always and in everything the divine Will, his apostolic zeal and capacity to serve souls, as well as his availability to carry on his own shoulders the holy burden of the Work, which is now in your hands and mine.

Don Alvaro spread peace in hearts, as so many people have remarked who knew him personally or through videos of his get-togethers and pastoral trips. My daughter, my son: let us ask him now to obtain for us from God a deep gaudium cum pace in our hearts, also for those who have ever been in contact with the apostolic work of Opus Dei. And let us also ask the soon to be Blessed for peace in the world, ravaged by so many wars and conflicts.

With all my affection, I bless you,

Your Father,
+ Javier

Rome, January 22, 2014

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A few months before the beatification, on June 4, the Prelate of Opus Dei wrote the following letter to those who were preparing for this event in the Church’s life:

My dear children: may Jesus watch over my daughters and sons for me!

As we draw closer to September 27, the date for Don Alvaro’s beatification, I find my desire increasing to prepare myself very well for that great feast of our Holy Mother the Church and of this “small portion” of the Church that is the Prelature. The same will be happening to you. I recall how Don Alvaro urged us to prepare ourselves for our Father’s beatification on May 17, 1992. I would like to follow in his footsteps, closely accompanied by everyone’s prayer, and uniting myself personally to what each of you does.

I think it only natural that our heart pours out a sincere act of thanksgiving to God, with the joy of seeing raised to the altars the first successor of St. Josemaría, and that this divine gift prompts us to intensify our petition, each day, for the fruit of that event for the good of souls, and for so many apostolic initiatives that the faithful and cooperators of the Work are organizing all over the world.

It seems to me, also as an expression of our gratitude, that I should help you with some suggestions. In first place, in preparation for that day, and then afterwards until the end of the year, each one should personally seek out some special small way to pray for the Church, the Pope, the Work, in accord with St. Josemaría’s example. And I ask you also to beseech God to hear us in my many other intentions, to serve souls more and better.

This special prayer, with Don Alvaro as the intercessor, could involve praying an extra part of the Rosary; or else a Memorare before an image of our Lady in our family home—in the Center of the Work, or the home where each one lives. Or perhaps it could be to make each week a brief visit to a church dedicated to our Lady, or where her image is venerated, etc.

This is only a fatherly request that I am making known to you so that, with complete spontaneity and personal freedom, our faithfulness to God, to the Church, to the Pope, might be ever more refined. I dare to ask you that your help here be generous.

With all my affection, I bless you,

Your Father,
+ Javier

Rome, June 4, 2014

Romana, No. 58, January-June 2014, p. 87-90.

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