The Feast of St. Josemaria Escriva throughout the world
On and around June 26, hundreds of dioceses celebrated the liturgical feast of St. Josemaría. The list here of Masses in honor of the founder of Opus Dei makes no attempt to provide a complete account of these events, but simply offers a selection.
Archbishop Donald Wuerl concelebrated the Mass of St. Josemaría with twenty other priests at the national Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Some 900 faithful took part. In his homily Archbishop Wuerl recalled the day on which he accompanied Cardinal John Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, to pray before the mortal remains of Josemaría Escrivá a few hours after his death, noting that people already considered him a saint. At another point of his homily he said: “One of the teachings of St. Josemaría that I have found especially inspiring is that everything we do, day by day, has its own transforming spiritual energy…In this world, with all its temporality, we encounter the means by which the Kingdom of God, the reign of grace, the dominion of the Spirit is extended.” At the end, citing Pope John Paul II’s homily during the canonization of St. Josemaría, he invited the faithful to respond to the challenge of Jesus’ words: duc in altum, put out into the deep.
The Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, presided in the metropolitan Cathedral at a Mass concelebrated with Fr. Patricio Olmos, Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in Argentina, Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature, and others. Fr. Olmos said in his homily: “If St. Josemaría were here today, very probably he would invite us to listen and follow the voice of the Spirit who recently spoke through the Latin American bishops in the Assembly at Aparecida. There the bishops proclaimed a ‘great continental mission,’ a great spreading of the Gospel which seeks to reach everyone, and which has as its aim ‘to seek out strayed Catholics and those who know little or nothing about Jesus, so that we can joyfully form the community of our Father God’s love.’”
In Brazil, solemn Masses were celebrated in many cities with large numbers of faithful in attendance and many confessions. The Vida Television Network, the Catholic national broadcasting company, transmitted throughout the whole country a Mass in honor of St. Josemaría celebrated on the evening of the 26th.
In the Cathedral of the Prelature of Yauyos-Cañete in Peru, a novena was held in preparation for the feast of St. Josemaría. On Tuesday the 26th, in the Shrine of Our Lady Mother of Fair Love, some 1500 people took part in a celebration presided over by Bishop Ricardo Garcia.. As is now a tradition, at the end of Mass the statue of St. Josemaría was carried in procession through the city streets.
Also in Peru, another solemn novena was held in Huarrago, which honors St. Josemaría as its patron.
In Montreal, on June 27, the principal celebrant for the Mass of St. Josemaría was Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, who was joined as concelebrant by the Regional Vicar of the Prelature in Canada and some twenty priests from various dioceses. The cathedral was filled with faithful. Cardinal Turcotte expressed his pleasure and gratitude for the activity of the Work in Canada, especially in his diocese, the first in which Opus Dei was established, fifty years ago now, at the request of the then Archbishop, Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger. At the end of the celebration, two faithful of the Prelature presented him with a pallium embroidered with an image of St. Joseph, in honor of the 25th anniversry of his episcopal ordination.
In Accra, the capital of Ghana, on June 27 a Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Josemaría in the parish of Corpus Christi to Sakumono, on the initiative of a young couple, both of whom are faithful of the Prelature. About a hundred people attended.
A new statue of St. Josemaría was blessed in the cathedral of Delhi by Archbishop Vincent Concessao on June 26th, after a Mass celebrated by him and five other priests in honor of the saint. In his homily Archbishop Concessao spoke about St. Josemaría’s teachings and about the Church’s need for saints, not only in the arched niches of its walls, but also working in factories and in offices, carrying out all kinds of activities. “No matter what work you carry out, serving your neighbor, if you do it for love, conscious of God’s plans for you, you can identify yourself with Christ in your work and draw close to God.” Bernard Alick, the artist who painted the statue, was one of those who carried it in procession at the end of Mass from the sanctuary to the baptistry where it was installed.
In the community of Aversa, in the province of Caserta, Italy, in addition to a Mass in honor of St. Josemaría in the cathedral presided over by the Archbishop, this year a second Mass was held in the chapel of the San Giuseppe Moscati hospital. The principal celebrant was Fr. Andrea Della Gatta, from the Congregation of the Little House of Nazareth, who had read several writings about St. Josemaría’s concern for the sick and decided to celebrate his feast with the doctors, nurses, and patients of the hospital. At the end of the Mass, a picture of the saint was installed in the chapel.
In Barletta, near Bari, the Mass in honor of St. Josemaría was celebrated in the Church of St. Augustine. The pastor, Fr. Pasquale Barilo, set up a picture of the founder of Opus Dei with the words “May you seek Christ, may you find Christ, may you love Christ.” A large choir contributed to the solemnity of the celebration; its repertory included, among other pieces, an original hymn to St. Josemaría.
In Shanghai a Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Josemaría on his feast day for the second time. It took place in St. Peter’s Church and was attended by about forty people who are in contact with the apostolic work carried out by the Prelature’s faithful and who live or work in Shanghai and adjoining cities.
On July 7, the Regional Vicar of Ireland, Msgr. Robert Bucciarelli, celebrated a Mass in honor of St. Josemaría in the White Abbey of the Carmelites of Kildare. A large number of young families with children attended the ceremony. In his homily, Msgr. Bucciarelli spoke in praise of the good traditions of County Kildare and referred to the apostolic initiatives for families with young children that the faithful of Opus Dei are carrying out in the area, such as the Hill House family center in Naas. After Mass a reception was held in the parish center attached to the Church.
In Helsinki, the Mass in honor of St. Josemaría took place in the cathedral of St. Henry on Monday, June 18. Some seventy people took part. It was an occasion for giving thanks to God for the twenty years of stable work by Opus Dei in Finland. Concelebrating were the Bishop, Josef Wrobel, the pastor, the cathedral’s chaplain and some priests of the Work. The Bishop then went to visit the new student residence in Helsinki, in the section of the city known as Töölö. He was shown some of the activities that the residence offers to the young men there. At the end of his visit, Bishop Wrobel asked to pray in the oratory with the residents for the success of these activities.
In Rome, as is customary, the prelate of Opus Dei celebrated the Mass of St. Josemaría in St. Eugene’s Basilica.
Romana, n. 44, January-June 2007, p. 144-146.