A Good and Faithful Servant
On September 27, 2014, Alvaro del Portillo, bishop and prelate of Opus Dei, was raised to the altars before a multitude of faithful in a ceremony celebrated in Madrid. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world took part in the joy of the beatification of this “shepherd in accord with the heart of Christ, a zealous minister of the Church,” as he was defined by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Brief of beatification.
In a letter sent to Bishop Javier Echevarría, the Roman Pontiff shared his “special joy” for the new blessed, emphasizing his “life of humble service to others,” forged from his youth “in the simplicity of family life, through friendship and service to others.” The Pope said that Blessed Alvaro “is also teaching us that in the simplicity of our daily lives we can find a sure path to holiness.” His example is an encouragement “not to be afraid to go against the current and suffer for announcing the Gospel.”
Alvaro del Portillo had an immense love for the Church, “which he served with a heart devoid of worldly self-interest, far from discord, welcoming to everyone and always seeking in others what was positive, what united,” the Pope stressed. The new blessed knew “the need we have of God’s mercy, and devoted a lot of his own energy to encouraging the people he met to go to the Sacrament of Confession.”
“One who is very immersed in God is able to be very close to other people,” wrote the Holy Father, highlighting Alvaro del Portillo zeal to bring to all men and women the lovable and merciful face of Christ: “He traveled to many countries to foster new projects for evangelization, undeterred by difficulties, moved by his love for God and his brothers and sisters,” he added in his message.
This issue of Romana contains the chronicle of those days of grace, together with the texts of the homilies and messages for the beatification, and the news of the ceremonies that took place in Rome during the following days.
In addition, the second half of 2014 brought other news, such as the appointment—for the first time—of an Auxiliary Vicar in the Prelature, the pastoral trips of the prelate to Central America and Russia, and the convoking of a Marian Year in the Prelature of Opus Dei, “in order to place in our Lady’s hands all the needs of the Church and mankind, and follow faithfully the Pope’s intentions,” as Bishop Echevarría said on December 28th, the liturgical feast of the Holy Family.
Romana, n. 59, July-December 2014, p. 208.