Krakow, July 28 to August 1
Bishop Javier Echevarría traveled to Krakow, Poland, for the World Youth Day, which Pope Francis attended. He made the pastoral trip from Pamplona, Spain, taking advantage of various stops to meet with faithful of Opus Dei and people who take part in the activities of Christian formation offered by the Prelature in Lyon, France; Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; and Marseille, France.
The Prelate was in Krakow from July 28 to August 1. He stayed at the Osrodek Akademicki Barbakan student residence. During these days he received families and groups from various parts of the world, particularly young people from countries where Catholics are a minority. On Friday the 29th of July, he had two catechetical gatherings with thousands of young people attending World Youth Day in the Krakow ICE Congress Centre. He encouraged them to pray every day for the Pope and to reflect personally on his teachings, in order to respond to the needs of the Church and society.
On Saturday he went to the Campus of Misericordia for the prayer vigil with Pope Francis. Before the ceremony he had the opportunity to greet the Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Secretary of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Artur Mizinski, as well as numerous Polish bishops and bishops from around the world. On Sunday, after the closing Mass for WYD, he visited the Shrine of St. John Paul II in Krakow, where he prayed before a replica of the image of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (Our Lady of Calvary), especially venerated by St. John Paul II, and before the tomb of Cardinal Andrzej Deskur, with whom he was linked by close friendship over many years.
On Monday August 1, before leaving, the Prelate celebrated Holy Mass in Barbakan for a number of Polish World Youth Day volunteers.
Estonia and Finland, from October 14 to 17
The Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Echevarría, and the Auxiliary and General Vicar of the Prelature, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, carried out a pastoral trip to Estonia and Finland from October 14 to 17. On Friday the 14th, the Prelate had a get-together in Tallin, Estonia, with several hundred families. He encouraged them to carry out through their life and example an intense evangelizing apostolate, especially among those who have not had the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ. Bishop Echevarría encouraged them to entrust to our Lady the work of evangelization in Estonia, a land that Pope Innocent III declared a “Marian land” in 1215.
On Sunday October 16, some 200 people gathered with Bishop Echevarría in a hotel in the center of Helsinki, Finland. The conversation with the Prelate centered on the importance of prayer and love for neighbor, in the context of the Year of Mercy. He encouraged those present to struggle against the temptation of individualism and to launch out in service of others, with deeds of charity in daily life: visiting the sick, accompanying the aged who are alone, and helping the poor and neglected.
During his stay in Finland, Bishop Echevarría visited Tavasttähti and Silta-Klubi, two student residences where Opus Dei offers means of Christian formation. On Monday the 17th, just before returning to Rome, he was received by the Bishop of Helsinki, Teemu Sippo. This trip was his sixth to this country as Prelate of Opus Dei.
Romana, No. 63, July-December 2016, p. 291-292.