Masses of Thanksgiving
For the beatification of Álvaro del Portillo, many Masses of Thanksgiving were celebrated throughout the world. In Japan, Eucharistic celebrations were held in the dioceses of Tokyo, Osaka, Oita, and Kyoto. In these last two cities, the Masses were celebrated in the cathedral. In Oita, the Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Bishop Paul Hamaguchi. In a festive atmosphere, many faithful of the Prelature together with cooperators, people who take part in the Prelature’s apostolic work, and those with devotion to the new blessed, gathered to joyfully celebrate his elevation to the altars, while also recalling the visit that Álvaro del Portillo made to Japan in 1987.
On September 29, two days after the beatification, the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, André Armand Vingt-Trois, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for a large congregation, in which people who were not able to travel to Madrid took part. “It is for me a joy to celebrate this Eucharist with the members and friends of the prelature of Opus Dei in France on the occasion of the beatification of Bishop Álvaro del Portillo. It is an opportunity to give thanks for the fruit of the gift of God of his life, and also to express to God our gratitude for the ecclesial experience that we are living with the prelature of Opus Dei,” Archbishop Vingt-Trois pointed out. In his homily, the Cardinal said that “Blessed Álvaro welcomed God’s call, and incarnated through his life the figure of a pastor, giving us a living example of the image of the Good Shepherd shown in the Gospel . . . The life of Álvaro del Portillo was a beautiful example, both of the vocation that led him to be one of the first companions and disciples of St. Josemaría, as well as of the message of fidelity, humility and gentleness that he gave throughout his life, especially during the time he was Prelate of Opus Dei.”
On October 11, the Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouw), in Amsterdam, was the site of a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving presided over by Bishop Jozef Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam.
On October 19, more than 400 people in Lebanon took part in the Mass celebrated in the Maronite cathedral of Beirut by the diocesan Archbishop Boulos Matar. In his homily, Archbishop Matar stressed the humility of the new blessed and the great fruit produced by his work on behalf of all souls. He also encouraged those present to meet in Rome for the future canonization of the new blessed.
On Tuesday, October 21, a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving was held in Zurich Church of Our
Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) for the beatification of Bishop Álvaro. Celebrating were Bishop Vitus Huoner of Zürich, Bishop Martin Grichting, vicar general of the diocese of Chur, Msgr. Mario Codeamo, secretary of the Nuntiature of the Holy See in Bern, the Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in Switzerland, Msgr. Peter Rutz, the pastor of the Liebfrauenkirche, and other priests. The church was filled with young families and students. Bishop Huondor described the personality of Blessed Álvaro, and stressed his love for both the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood. He mentioned his contribution to the Second Vatican Council’s decree Presbyterorum Ordinis through his intense work as secretary of the preparatory commission. Citing a passage from the Old Testament, he spoke of the need for bishops who are good shepherds, and encouraged everyone to go to the intercession of Blessed Álvaro, asking that there be many holy priests closely united to them.
In Mexico, on October 25, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Basilica of Our Lady of El Roble (the Oak). It was presided over by Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Monterrey. In Brazil, as well, during the months of October and November, many Thanksgiving Masses were held in various dioceses, with large crowds in attendance giving thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the benefits derived from the holy life of the new blessed.
On the Iberian peninsula, the Eucharistic celebrations related to the beatification were many. In Portugal, between October and December 2014, thanksgiving Masses were celebrated in Porto (October 27), presided over by Auxiliary Bishop Pio Alves de Sousa, in Lisbon (November 15), in Viseu (November 22), in Coimbra (November 28), and in Braga (December 6). In Spain thousands of faithful wished to thank the Blessed Trinity for the gift of the beatification, by participating in Masses in many cathedrals throughout the country, including Bilbao, Santiago de Compostela, Pamplona, and San Sebastian, where the celebrations were presided over by the respective bishops of the diocese. A Solemn Vespers in thanksgiving for the beatification was held in the Monastery of Leyre, presided over by Abbot Mitrado.
Many religious orders and congregations, as well as movements, sent messages to the Prelate and his Vicars expressing their joy for the beatification of Bishop del Portillo, who had so often expressed his affection and veneration for the life of witness and dedication of the religious and his esteem and encouragement of the new ecclesial institutions and movements.
Romana, No. 59, July-December 2014, p. 232-233.