“Open the Doors to Christ”

On May 1, in St. Peter’s Square, an important event for the Church took place: the beatification of John Paul II, the pontiff who led the Church from the second into the third millennium.

In his homily, before an immense multitude of people, Benedict XVI emphasized the faith of his predecessor: a “strong, generous and apostolic faith,” and a gift “for building up Christ’s Church.” He also recalled how, during the almost 27 years of his pontificate, John Paul II had spread forcefully “the universal vocation to the heights of the Christian life, to holiness... All of us, as members of the people of God—bishops, priests, deacons, laity, men and women religious—are making our pilgrim way to the heavenly homeland where the Virgin Mary has preceded us, united as she was in a unique and perfect way to the mystery of Christ and the Church.”

“He has left us a marvelous treasure of doctrine and the example of his pastoral charity,” said the Prelate of Opus Dei in a recent interview published in these pages, a spur to undertake “a new evangelization through ordinary life, through people actively present in all fields of human endeavor, with conduct consistent with their faith.”

The current issue of Romana includes Benedict XVI's homily during the Beatification Mass of John Paul II, several articles and interviews with Bishop Javier EchevarrÌa, along with the homily at the Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated on May 3 by the Prelate of Opus Dei in St. Eugene’s Basilica, in which hundreds of pilgrims who came to Rome for the beatification took part.

“Every declaration of holiness proclaims the glory of the Trinity,” Bishop EchevarrÌa said on that occasion. “But some, like the beatification of John Paul II, influence millions of people. We saw this when the Lord called him to himself, six years ago, and I am convinced that the same thing will happen in these days. If we invoke with faith the intercession of the new Blessed in all our needs, great and small, personal and collective, a shower of graces will rain down from Heaven for all mankind. Let us ask God that, through his intercession, he may assist the Church and civil society in their journeys with divine mercy. Let us also pray, full of hope and affection, for Pope Benedict XVI and all the bishops, priests and laity and consecrated religious, and for those who are still seeking the God whom they do not yet know. Let us pray for one another, so that each of us may encounter and love Jesus, the Son of God made man who has died and risen for our salvation.”

As for the whole Church, for the faithful of Opus Dei the beatification was a moment of special gratitude to John Paul II, because, as Bishop EchevarrÌa said in the interview granted to Studi Cattolici, “during his pontificate certain events of special importance for the history of Opus Dei took place. These include the establishment of this part of the Church as a personal prelature, the beatification and canonization of St. JosemarÌa, and the creation of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.” The Prelate added: “John Paul II was truly the Pope of everyone, a Father sensitive to all the charisms that the Holy Spirit brings forth. I think that, with him, millions of people have felt themselves to be ‘favorite sons and daughters.’ And the faithful of Opus Dei have also felt this, with daily joy and thanksgiving.”

We would like to open this issue of Romana with words of Benedict XVI at the conclusion of his homily on May 1, Divine Mercy Sunday: “Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from Heaven the faith of God’s people. You often blessed us in this Square from the Apostolic Palace: Bless us, Holy Father! Amen.”

Romana, n. 52, January-June 2011, p. 8-9.

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