First Celebration of the Memorial of Blessed Álvaro

On May 12, the liturgical feast of Blessed Álvaro del Portillo, who was beatified on September 27, 2014 in Madrid, was celebrated for the first time in many Masses all over the world. In Madrid, the birthplace of Blessed Álvaro, Archbishop Carlos Osoro celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena. In his homily the Archbishop of Madrid said: “We are brought here today by a man of God, by the memory of a saint who showed by his life the reality that we sing in the Psalm: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.’. . . This is the first time his feast day is being celebrated after his beatification, and I give thanks to God because this is the first time I have had the opportunity to celebrate the first feast day of a new Blessed. . . . I entrust to him the mission God has given me here in this Church of Madrid. I am sure that Blessed Álvaro, who loved Madrid and was from Madrid, will intercede for us.”

In the United Kingdom, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, concelebrated the Mass in Westminster Cathedral. Archbishop Roche presented Blessed Álvaro as an example of one who sought holiness in a discrete and humble manner in daily life, and encouraged those present to follow his example, applying it, for the majority of them, to their relationship with their spouses and families. He pointed to the “simplicity of family life” as “the chosen place where people learn to fall in love with Christ day by day. . . . The one thing I have readily noticed in the members of Opus Dei, and I say this as an outsider, is the natural way in which you relate everything to God and his providence, not least in difficult and trying times,” the Archbishop said.

Cardinal Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, addressed some brief and heartfelt words to those present, thanking the faithful of the Prelature for their service to the Church, not only in his diocese but throughout the whole country.

In Uruguay, the Bishop of Minas, Most Rev. Jaime Fuentes, encouraged those attending the Mass in Montevideo to ask Blessed Álvaro for “the Synod of Bishops and for families.” He reminded them that Álvaro del Portillo “put at the service of the Church his great intelligence, his charity and his spirit of sacrifice.” He advised those present to try to be for their friends a “preventive medicine,” anticipating “matrimonial crises, staying close to people, reaching out to them,” like the “the pastor of a very small flock.”

Romana, No. 60, January-June 2015, p. 114-115.