Tag Archives: Opus Dei

Blessed Alvaro del Portillo

Don AlvaroToday is the first time the Church is able to celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo since he was beatified in 2014. The Church designated May 12th (the anniversary of his First Communion) as his feast day.

To mark the occasion, Fr. Javier del Castillo prepared a special meditation for listeners (a podcast) published by the St. Josemaria Institute.

Don Alvaro was known for his humility and his faithfulness but it was also said that he had the heroic virtue of courage (he was a man of fortitude, a gift of the Spirit). We need to be sure in our walking in the ways of the Lord building the Church. He is called Saxum (rock), a metaphor for fortitude by Saint Josemaría.

“The Lord is my rock….” May Blessed Alvaro help us in our daily life, to show us what it means to be people of humility, faithfulness, and courage.

Blessed Alvaro del Portillo

Portillo and JPII“Early in the morning of March 23rd, 1994, God called his good and faithful servant to Himself. Bishop del Portillo had returned only a few hours before from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where, with deep prayer and piety, he had followed Jesus’ footsteps from Nazareth to the Holy Sepulcher. He had celebrated his last Mass on earth in the Church of the Cenacle in Jerusalem. Later that day, Pope John Paul II came to pray before Bishop del Portillo’s remains, which now lie in the crypt of the Church of the Prelature, Our Lady of Peace at Bruno Buozzi 75, Rome.”

Alvaro Del Portillo declared “Blessed” in Madrid

Bl Alvaro del PortilloShortly after the elected of Francis to the Throne of Peter, he approved of the miracle that would lead to his beatification. His first miracle, if you are interested, concerned a case in 2003 where a Chilean baby boy’s heart started beating despite doctors’ failed 30-minute efforts to resuscitate him. The boy’s parents prayed to Del Portillo for his intercession from God to save their child. From all reports the child lives a normal life, going to school and playing soccer.

In the car last evening I was listening to various news services and NPR had a story –none of the other international services did– of the beatification of Del Portillo. But the real story seemed not the beatification of a man known for holiness but his connection to Opus Dei famously derided in Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. I fail to see what one thing really has to do with another.

Saint Josemaría Escrivá’s original vision for Opus Dei has nothing to do with the political monikers of being liberal or conservative. Many will frame the group in these terms out ignorance. Opus Dei –a Latin concept meaning “The Work of God”– is about encouraging Catholics to know their ordinary, everyday work and life as a path to holiness. In other words, we are all called in whatever our work is, to the universal call to holiness; a strong emphasis of the Second Vatican Council and many saints. Religion is NOT just for 47 minutes on a Sunday morning where you put your money in the parking meter.

So, what ought to be admired about Opus Dei is the group’s emphasis and witness on the dignity of the laity. This same emphasis is also seen in two other ecclesial movements in the Church: Communion and Liberation and Focolare. But, The Work of God since its founding in 1928 has a significant challenge to the ultra-clerical attitudes of our Church while raising up the beauty of being a lay Christian and building up the Mystical Body of the Church.

Blessed Alvaro Del Portillo’s style was humble and faithful to the charism he was given by God to fulfill in history. His reputable for holiness is well-regarded and and substantiated. Del Portillo worked with Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei for more than 40 years, and later his successor as the group’s leader until 1994.

Opus Dei is a lay organization in the Church with more than 90K members; only 2,073 are priests.

Blessed Alvaro, pray for us.

Joseph Muzquiz, Servant of God

Joseph MuzquizYou may not know about The Servant of God, Father Joseph Muzquiz, a candidate for sainthood. His cause opened in 2010 in the Archdiocese of Boston. I recommend following the work of seeing if Muzquiz is saint material.

Since 1949, Father Muzquiz has been in the USA having been born in Spain and well-educated in Europe. The reason for his coming to the States was the establishment of Opus Dei ; he was sent by St. Josemaría Escrivá. You may remember a line I use from time to time: saints beget saints. Muzquiz died in 1983 and yet his influence continues to be felt and followed.

There is a website giving pertinent info for Father Joseph Muzquiz which will help you to know this holy and very man better (the site includes a video presentation).

For private devotion here is a prayer:

God, you helped your servant Joseph work with generosity and simplicity. He spread the message of sanctity in secular life to many people, teaching them to find joy and peace in their daily life. Help me to seek first the kingdom of God, by sanctifying my everyday work and dedicating myself generously to the salvation of souls. Glorify your servant Joseph, and through his intercession, grant me the favor I ask of you.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be to the Father. 

Alvaro del Portillo’s beatification set

Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, first successor of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of the Prelature of Opus Dei, will be beatified on 27 September 27 2014, in Madrid, Spain, where he was born. The beatification will be celebrated by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB.

Alvaro del Portillo was born on March 11, 1914, joined Opus Dei in 1935, served in various capacities, and ordained a bishop by John Paul on January 6, 1991. He died on 23 March 1994.

When the Church gives us a new person to follow at the Altar as way to adhere to Jesus more closely, we ought to do our best to know the person well. The Prelate of Opus Dei proposes that through del Portillo that this is a good time to gain to acquaint ourselves with his life, writings, witness, and by opening our heart “…to imitate his love for God and others, his desire to fulfill always and in everything the divine Will, his apostolic zeal and capacity to serve souls….”

Here is a video about the miracle received through the Bishop del Portillo’s intercession before the Holy Trinity. The story of the newborn Jose Ignacio Ureta Wilson is moving.

The latest news on the beatification may be found at: www.alvarodelportillo.org

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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