Introduction of the book 'Un santo per amico'

On February 26 the book Un santo per amico [A Saint as my Friend] was introduced to the public in Rome. Taking part in the event were Sister Fernanda Barbiero, director of the Pontifical Institute «Regina Mundi,» and Msgr. Flavio Capucci, postulator of the Cause of canonization of Josemaría Escrivá.

The book contains the testimonies of numerous people who knew Blessed Josemaría in Spain in the first years of his pastoral ministry, between 1924 and 1946, the year in which he moved to Rome. Among them is Asunción Muñoz (1894-1984), of the Community of the Damas Apostolicas, with whom Josemaría Escrivá worked for several years in taking care of the poor and the sick in Madrid’s slum areas. Others include Bishop Jose Maria Bueno Monreal (1904-1987), a personal friend of the founder since 1928, who later became Archbishop of Seville and a Cardinal; Father Jose Maria Aguilar (1920-1992), whom Blessed Josemaría encouraged to become a religious in 1941; and twenty-five other bishops, priests, and men and women religious. Msgr. Flavio Capucci said the volume has the merit of presenting «direct recollections, narrated in the first person by those involved,» and not «later interpretations» about Blessed Josemaría.

Sister Fernanda Barbieros, SMSD, said that the book «contains extraordinarily incisive pages of his life.» She refers to Blessed Josemaría’s «ecclesial consciousness,» in which there was no «attempt to make use of the Church, but rather the desire to serve the Church as she wanted to be served.» The apostolic activity of Josemaría Escrivá, Sister Fernanda pointed out, was not directed towards creating «a Church within the Church, but a pastoral activity in which the growth and the autonomy of the laity would renew the frontiers of the Church’s mission and pastoral action.»

The postulator of the cause of canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Fr. Brian Kolodiychule, M.C., sent a message to be read to those present. In it he pointed out some aspects of Blessed Josemaría’s life that were also prominent in the life of Mother Teresa. These included «his great love for the Church, for the Pope, for sacramental confession; his firm faith in the value of prayer as the point of departure for all apostolic action; and his capacity to undertake ambitious initiatives in service to others.» Fr. Kolodiychule’s message said: «In Blessed Josemaría we find a great commitment to help Christ present in the needy» and a great effort «of social commitment to improve the conditions of all human beings.» In line with the numerous testimonies collected in this book, the postulator for Mother Teresa pointed out that «the poor, the sick, the abandoned, were his weapons to win the battle to get Opus Dei underway.» At the end of the presentation, Msgr. Capucci said that «the book makes clear that the personal history of Josemaría Escrivá and the history of the institution that he founded are imbued with ecclesial communion.»

Romana, n. 34, January-June 2002, p. 119-120.

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