On the seventh anniversary of the death of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo

On March 23, seventh anniversary of the death of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, first successor to Blessed Josemaria Escriva, Masses for the respose of his soul were celebrated in churches throughout the world. In Rome, Bishop Javier Echevarría presided over a solemn concelebration in the basilica of St. Eugene, attended by thousands of people.

The Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Roberto González Neves, was the main celebrant at the solemn Mass celebrated for Bishop Alvaro del Portillo in the church of St. Joseph of Villa Caparra. In the homily he affectionately referred to Bishop Alvaro, evoking his visit in 1988 to the Patroness of Puerto Rico and recalling his love for our Lady.

In Quito the Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the city’s auxiliary Bishop, Carlos Altamirano, accompanied by the Prelature’s vicars in Ecuador. In Guayaquil, Archbishop Juan Larrea concelebrated in that city’s cathedral. “Above all,” he said in the homily, “what we most admire is his heroism in daily life: his humble, quiet and extraordinarily faithful fulfillment of his assignments; his full collaboration with Monsignor Josemaria Escriva; his tireless service and spiritual advice.”

The emeritus archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Franz König, in his homily emphasized Bishop del Portillo’s important role in drafting several documents of Vatican Council II. It was thanks to this work, the Cardinal said, that he came to know not only Blessed Josemaria, but also his closest collaborator and the first Prelate of Opus Dei.

Some 300 people attended the anniversary Mass in Yaoundé, Cameroon. It took place in the Chapelle Saint Laurent.

In Lima, the anniversary Mass took place in the Church of the Miraculous Medal and drew some 700 people. Presiding over the concelebration was the auxiliary Bishop Alberto Brazini. In the homily he stressed the friendship he felt for Bishop del Portillo, even though they met just a few times. He was drawn by the simplicity and warmth Bishop del Portillo always radiated in his dealings with others.

On March 23 a Mass for the eternal rest of Bishop Alvaro took place in Amsterdam’s Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk. It was concelebrated by the regional vicar and two other priests of the prelature. In Spain requiem Masses were celebrated in practically all the provincial capitals and in many other cities for thousands of faithful. On the same day, in Buenos Aires, the regional vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Argentina, Rev. Patricio Olmos, celebrated Mass in the church of Our Lady of Ransom.

In Australia the commemorative Mass was concelebrated on March 24 in the parish church of St. Martha, Strathfield (Sydney). The regional vicar, Monsignor John Masso, was joined by a good group of priests.

There were various concelebrations in Colombia. In Bogota the emeritus bishop of Ponce, Fremiot Torres Oliver, presided over the Mass in Gimnasio Moderno Church. In Medellin the city’s auxiliary bishop Jesús Rivera Gómez presided over the ceremony in the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows. In Cartagena, in the parish church of Bocagrande, the diocese’s vicar general, Monsignor Domingo Gándara Romero, presided.

In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Apostolic Nuncio of His Holiness, Bishop Francois Bacqué, was the primary concelebrant at the commemorative Mass for the respose of the soul of Bishop del Portillo. He was joined by the auxiliary bishop of Santo Domingo, Pablo Cedano, the Prelature’s vicar and other priests. Bishop Bacqué spoke of his affection for the current Prelate of Opus Dei, recalling the Pope’s words to Prelature members in Rome during a study conference on the apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte. He also stressed the support the Prelature provides to the particular churches.

Romana, n. 32, January-June 2001, p. 80-81.

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