Transfer of the mortal remains of the Servant of God José María Hernández Garnica to the Church of Santa Maria de Montalegre, Barcelona (November 11, 2011)

The mortal remains of the Servant of God José María Hernández Garnica were transferred from the cemetery of Montjuic to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria de Montalegre. The ceremony took place on November 11, presided over by the Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona, Luis Martinez Sistach. José Maria Hernandez Garnica was one of the first three faithful of Opus Dei to receive priestly ordination, and is now in the process of canonization. The ceremony was attended by relatives and friends of his, and by many other faithful.

In his homily, the Cardinal cited St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans on the calling of all the baptized to sanctity, saying that this is the first and fundamental vocation. This teaching was stressed by the Second Vatican Council, of which St. Josemaría is a notable precursor. Present at the ceremony were the Episcopal vicar of the district, Msgr. Joan Galtés, along with the members of the Tribunal designated by the Cardinal for this transfer: Fr. Ramon Domenech, OFM, Delegate Judge; Msgr. Alejandro Marzo, Promoter of Justice; Ms. Chiara Rostagno, Actuarial Notary. Also present were the Vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Spain, Msgr. Ramon Herrando; the Vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Catalonia, Fr. Antoni Pujals; the Postulator of the Cause of Canonization, Fr. José Carlos Martín de la Hoz; the rector of the Church of Santa Maria de Montalegre, Fr. Francesc Perarnau; and a dozen other priests. The ceremony ended with the singing of the Virolai (a hymn to our Lady of Montserrat).

Fr. José Maria Hernandez Garnica was born in Madrid in 1913, and held degrees in mining engineering and in natural sciences. He defended his doctoral thesis in moral theology at the Lateran Pontifical University of Rome, on “Morality in Systems of Financial Intervention,” directed by the then Professor (later Cardinal) Pietro Palazzini.

He asked for admission to Opus Dei a year before the outbreak of the Spanish civil war, and received priestly ordination in 1944. St. Josemaría especially entrusted to him the pastoral work of assisting the apostolic activities of Opus Dei with women, at the same time as he dedicated himself to many other priestly duties. Later he exercised his priestly ministry in Great Britain, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland, adapting himself to very different mentalities and environments.

He died in Barcelona, in 1972, with a reputation for holiness. He had moved to Barcelona some months before this to be treated for the cancer of the tongue that, in the end, he did not survive.

Romana, n. 53, July-December 2011, p. 289-290.

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