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The Election of the Prelate

The Third Elective Congress began on Monday January 23, with a Mass of the Holy Spirit, concelebrated by Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz with the other priest electors.

In his homily the Auxiliary Vicar referred to the scene of Pentecost, read for the Gospel of the Mass:

“In this Mass, a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, we are asking the Paraclete to give us light for the election of our next Father and Prelate and for the work that will follow in the Congress. Our thoughts naturally go to St. Josemaría and Blessed Alvaro and to the one who for the last 22 years has been our Father and Prelate.”

“We should have a great desire to be transmitters of what we have received, making it bear fruit.  In the scene of Pentecost that we have just read, the Holy Spirit shows himself visibly in two ways: as an impetuous wind and as a purifying fire. We need to have the Holy Spirit purify us constantly so that each of us may be the continuity, and we recognize the responsibility for the Work that we have in our hands, with an apostolic soul that is “the impetuous wind of Pentecost” St. Josemaría spoke about to us.”

“While acknowledging our own littleness, we also need to realize that the Work is in our hands. But it continues always being the Work of God: it is our Lord who is carrying out the Work. Certainly he counts on our response, on our answer, on our work, on our prayer… With the security that hope gives us, we should be always happy, spe gaudentes (Rom 12:12), as St. Paul says, because Deus nobiscum, God is with us, despite the difficulties that might arise, despite our own limitations. Joyful in hope.”

Paraclitum autem, Spiritus Sanctus, quem mittet Pater in nomine meo, ille vos docebit omnia (Jn 14:26). The Holy Spirit will teach you all things. Let us ask the Paraclete to teach us, to guide us, so that we choose the person he wants. At the same time we are already asking him to assist the new Father. May the Holy Spirit, who is the infinite personal Love of God, pour forth his gifts on the whole Work: this is the requirement for being united and effective.

“Our Lady, Regina Operis Dei, on Pentecost gave unity to the Church that was coming to birth, uniting the 120 persons in the cenacle, with the Apostles. Let us ask Mary to strengthen in us, in accord with St. Paul’s words, the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph
4:3).” 

Early in the afternoon on Monday the 23rd, the Elective Congress began with the plenary meetings. Once the procedures established by the specific rules of the Congress were completed, the proposals of the plenum of the Central Advisory were communicated to the members of the Congress, and following this the voting took place.

The person elected was Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz Braña, till then the Auxiliary Vicar of the Prelature. The one in charge of scrutinizing the ballots, in the name of the Congress, asked him if he accepted. Msgr. Ocáriz responded affirmatively.

On the same day the result of the election was communicated to the Holy Father and his confirmation was requested. Late on that same Monday, January 23rd, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz Braña as Prelate of Opus Dei. With his appointment, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz became the third successor of St. Josemaría as head of the Prelature.

Romana, No. 64, January-June 2017, p. 12-13.