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Camino de Santiago

Palas de Rei, one of the towns through which the “Way of St. James” passes, organized an exhibit entitled “St. Josemaría: life, message and legacy.” The exhibit was meant to provide information on the spiritual meaning of the pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela, through the message of the universal call to holiness reflected in the life and teachings of St. Josemaría. It also helped to make the saint known to those living in the locality. More than 2,000 pilgrims from thirty countries visited the exhibit.

Basilica of San Miguel

When St. Josemaría arrived in Madrid as a young priest, he celebrated his first Mass in the Basilica of San Miguel, on April 20, 1927. On October 17, 1960, 33 years later, he returned to celebrate Mass in the same church, this time with the participation of many people who knew him from his writings but had never seen him in person. In his homily he said: “I want to speak a few words to you in this church where I had the joy of celebrating my first Mass in Madrid. I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would one day see this church filled with souls who love Jesus Christ so greatly.” In 2010, the fiftieth anniversary of that Mass was commemorated in a solemn Mass celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Archbishop Renzo Fratini. In his homily, the Archbishop emphasized the importance of the celebration of the Eucharist for the life of a priest: “Who came to this Basilica? A holy priest who had a specific vocation. And, why did he come? He came, in short, to direct to God the highest prayer that exists in all creation: the Holy Mass.”

Fourth audiovisual competition “Communicating Africa”

For the fourth time, the “Communicating Africa” prize has been granted for documentaries and video clips that best reflect the true richness of the African continent. The award was won by the documentary “Yel Kabeye, women and the future of Ouagadougou,” produced by the Federation of Christian Organizations for International Volunteer Service. The aim of the prize is to help make known the real difficulties, successes and positive experiences of Africans who are dedicating their efforts to building a better society. The award ceremony took place on November 12 in the City Hall in Rome, with the participation of Ugo Tramballi, a journalist from the newspaper “Il Sole 24 ore”; Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Chief of Protocol for the Vatican Secretariate of State; Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia, a university professor; Igiaba Scega, a writer; and Sonia D’Ottavio, journalist for RAI, the Italian TV network.

“St. Josemaría Escrivá” Conference on the Arts

This initiative began in 2009 at the Moncloa Student Residence in Madrid. Each year a figure from the humanities whose work reflects Christian and human values is invited to speak. In this second annual session, the Spanish writer Blanca Garcia-Valdecasas spoke on “The Art of Writing.” A disciple of the renowned poet and literary critic Damaso Alonso, she is one of the most distinctive Spanish voices in the contemporary narrative tradition. “Inspiration,” she said, “is a spark of the intellect that requires hard work.”

Pathways of freedom

“St. Josemaría Escrivá during the Spanish Civil War” was the title of an address by Rev. Benito Badrinas given in Seu de Urgell, Spain. His address focused on some of the main historical events of the Founder of Opus Dei’s passage through the Pyrenees during the Spanish Civil War. The session was part of the Fourth Conference of Pathways to Freedom, organized by the Association of Friends of the Pallerols Trail from Rialb to Andorra. Through these meetings, the sponsors hope to contribute to the fostering of peace among all peoples, independent of their viewpoints and ways of thinking. It is also seeks to pay homage to those who, like St. Josemaría, were unjustly persecuted and to so many others who are currently suffering persecution because of their religion or ideas.

St. Josemaría in a church in São Paulo

On July 20, Bishop Javier Echevarría, during his trip to Brazil, blessed some tiles with an image of St. Josemaría in the church of Our Lady of Brazil, in São Paulo. Accompanying the image are phrases taken from the works of the Founder of Opus Dei which reflect central aspects of the charism he received from God in 1928. The walls of the church are also adorned with scenes from the history of the evangelization of Brazil and the Americas. Participating in the ceremony were Msgr. Vicente Ancona Lopez, the Vicar of Opus Dei in Brazil, Rev. Michelino Roberto, the pastor, and the parochial vicars, along with a large group of faithful.

An icon of St. Josemaría

An icon of St. Josemaría has been painted (or “written,” as is said regarding icons) by the Orthodox artist Alexandre Sokolov. The artist has also produced well-known icons of St. Raphael and of the Eucharistic Virgin—with the Child depicted within a chalice. The icon of St. Josemaría is found in one of the centers of Opus Dei in Moscow and contains these words, in Russian: “God calls all men and women to holiness. Every honorable task can be an instrument for sanctifying oneself and others.” As is customary in the iconographic tradition, the gilded background represents eternity. Above St. Josemaría are two angels with the Blessed Virgin and Child between them.

Romana, n. 51, January-January 2010, p. 369-371.

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