September 29: Transfer of the Body Blessed Alvaro to St. Eugene's Basilica
The Roman ceremonies for the beatification of Álvaro del Portillo began on Monday, September 29. At six in the evening, the casket with the mortal remains of Blessed Álvaro was transported from the crypt of the prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, where it usually rests, to the nearby Basilica of St. Eugene.
Faithful from all over the world received the Blessed, who was carried in procession to the sanctuary, with prolonged applause. After a Liturgy of the Word, the Prelate of Opus Dei directed some words to those present.
“I am sure,” said Bishop Javier Echevarría, “that we all would have liked to carry the casket to thank Blessed Álvaro for his life of dedication and service to the Church, his interest in each one of us, and his daily love for God’s will.”
“We are in the presence of the remains of a man, a priest, a friend, who abandoned everything in God’s hand, and who therefore was always tranquil, happy. He was a great communicator of peace. Let us ask him sincerely: help us to be witnesses to God’s love for us,” said the prelate.
At the end of his homily, Bishop Echevarría blessed those in attendance with a relic of the new Blessed. Following this, many of the faithful went up to the casket and touched it with prayer cards, rosaries, photographs, notes with petitions, etc.
From September 29 to October 2, Eucharistic concelebrations followed one another next to Álvaro del Portillo’s mortal remains. Mara Celani, spokesperson for the Roman ceremonies for the beatification, said that on the evening of the 29th alone some 20,000 people came to the
A tangible sign of the beatification: four African projects.
During the Roman days for the beatification, an exposition organized by the NGO Harambee-Africa about Blessed Álvaro was installed in the patio of St. Eugene’s Basilica. Besides recounting the life of Álvaro del Portillo, the exhibit showed the projects to which the funds collected during the beatification ceremony
will be destined.
These are the three projects begun under Bishop del Portillo’s impetus to provide care for women and children in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the creation of a scholarship fund for priests from Africa who are studying in Rome.
“To the extent possible, all of us need to place ourselves in contact with those who are suffering, with the sick, with the poor . . . with those who are alone and abandoned.” These words, written by Blessed Álvaro in 1981, reflect his desire to assist others and bring everyone to Christ ’s lovable and merciful face. It was a passion that led him to promote dozens of social and educational initiatives all over the world, in the years he was at the head of Opus Dei.
He said that a natural consequence of concern for the poor and the sick is the effort to “encourage people to promote or participate in social assistance projects that try to remedy, in a professional way, these human needs and so many others.”
In words of Rosalinda Corbi, coordinator of Harambee’s international efforts, “it seemed necessary to share the gift of this beatification with those who need it the most, and we wanted to do so in a way that would have greatly pleased the new Blessed, who right from his youth dedicated many hours to the sick and needy.
Romana, No. 59, July-December 2014, p. 221-223.