Bishop Echevarría was in Spain from January 14 to 20. He arrived in Pamplona on Tuesday, January 14, accompanied by the Prelature’s Vicar General, Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, the Regional Vicar of Spain, Msgr. Ramon Herrando, and Msgr. Joaquín Alonso.
On the afternoon of the 16th he attended a reception given by the President of the government of Navarre in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the University of Navarre. Participating in the ceremony were government ministers, the President of the Regional Parliament, the Archbishop of Pamplona, the mayor, and many other government officials of Navarre. The university was represented by its Board of Directors, the deans of the various schools and other academic officials and invitees.
On the morning of the 17th, there was a solemn bestowal of honorary doctorates on three well-known scholars. In the afternoon, the Prelate went to the Bidasoa International Ecclesiastical College, where he met with the seminarians. Afterwards he visited the University Hospital and spent time with some of the sick people there before meeting with a large group of university women in the school of medicine’s reception hall.
On Saturday, the 18th, he was in Logroño, the city where St. Josemaria lived for some years and where he began his studies for the priesthood in the diocesan seminary. He visited the Alcaste School and spoke with the teachers, emphasizing the importance of charity in their educational work. Following this he went to the cathedral where he prayed before the image of Our Lady of the Angels.
At noon there was an academic ceremony in the seminary honoring St. Josemaria.
In the afternoon, having returned to Pamplona, Bishop Echevarría had a meeting with graduates and friends of the University of Navarre. In answer to the questions of some professors and members of the alumni society about how they could maintain the spirit inculcated by St. Josemaria at the beginning of the university, the Prelate urged them to seek the truth, in accord with their faith, and to work with a Christian spirit. He also encouraged them to promote the values of marriage and the family.
On Sunday, the 19th, he left for Madrid.
From January 21 to 24, Bishop Echevarría was in Jerusalem where he visited with the faithful of the Prelature who live in that city.
On Wednesday, the 22nd, he celebrated Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher at the altar of the Anastasis, the place of the resurrection. That same day he visited the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Sabbah.
On Friday, the Prelate of Opus Dei had lunch with the Nuncio, who had arrived the night before. In the afternoon he returned to Rome.
At the invitation of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, the Prelate of Opus Dei arrived in Madrid on Friday, May 2, to participate in the canonization of five Spaniards.
On the morning of May 3, together with the other participating bishops, Bishop Echevarría went to the Madrid-Barajas international airport to receive the Holy Father. In the evening he took part in the prayer vigil of the Holy Father with young people in the military airport of Cuatro Vientos. Before leaving he had a get-together at the seat of the Regional Commission of Opus Dei, at Diego de León, with the vicars of the ten delegations of the Prelature in Spain, whom he wanted to take part with him in the canonization ceremony and the other events at which the Holy Father would preside.
On Sunday, May 4, the Prelate participated, along with many other bishops, in the Eucharistic concelebration in which John Paul II canonized María Maravillas de Jesús, Ángela de la Cruz, Genoveva Torres, Pedro Poveda and José María Rubio. In the evening Bishop Echevarría went to the Barajas airport to see the Holy Father off.
On Monday, May 5, before leaving, he had various working sessions with the directors of Opus Dei in Spain.
Bishop Echevarría arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday, May 7. During his stay there he visited the Diocesan Administrator of Johannesburg, Fr. John Finlayson, and had get-togehers with various groups of faithful of the Prelature.
On Friday, the 9th, he traveled to Pretoria, where he visited Archbishop George Daniel, and the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Blasco Francisco Collaço. Upon returning to Johannesburg he had a reunion with the women directors of the Regional Council of the Prelature and, later, a meeting with university women in Arbor Study Centre.
On Saturday, May 10, he received various families and had a get-together with about 200 people, whom he encouraged to draw close to Christ and to learn from his example to work with a spirit of service and a sense of responsibility. Replying to questions of those attending, he spoke among other topics about love and faithfulness in marriage, the sacrament of reconciliation and, in the context of the recent history of South Africa, of learning to love in order to know how to forgive. In the afternoon, he met with the men directors of the Regional Council of the Prelature. He returned to Europe late Saturday evening.
Bishop Echevarría was in Sweden from May 23 to 26.
During that weekend, aside from two meetings with the Council and the Advisory of the Prelature’s delegation, the Prelate had various gatherings with different groups of faithful of Opus Dei. Recalling the Catholic past of the Nordic countries, he urged them to continue spreading the faith in Sweden and in the other Scandinavian countries. Together with the need for the faith, he emphasized the importance of charity, which has to be shown by dealing with everyone in a friendly way, by smiling, by expressing thanks for the services that others provide.
He also spent a few minutes with the students at the Lärkstadens University Residence. He spoke to them about respect for freedom and the family environment that is found in centers of Opus Dei as a heritage received from St. Josemaria.
He returned to Rome on the afternoon of the 26th.
Romana, n. 36, January-June 2003, p. 0.