Pastoral Trips

Dominican Republic, from August 5 to 8

Bishop Javier Echevarría traveled to the Dominican Republic at the beginning of August to give a push to the apostolic work of Opus Dei in this country, which began in 1988 under the impulse of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo.

The Prelate of Opus Dei arrived in Santo Domingo on Wednesday, August 5, and on the 6th was received by Cardinal Nicolas de Jesús López Rodríguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo and primate of the Americas. On the same day he held a get-together with 800 people in the auditorium of the Dominican Sports Hall of Fame, encouraging everyone to live out their Christian faith in their work and daily lives.

On August 7, the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination, he traveled to Jarabacoa, La Vega, to visit the Buenavista Conference Center and the Serranía School of Hotel Management, two social initiatives begun by some faithful of the Prelature. He had a chance to meet with students at the school and also with some faithful of Opus Dei who were attending during those days an activity of Christian formation in the Conference Center.

Trinidad and Tobago, from August 8 to 10

During his pastoral visit to Trinidad and Tobago—from August 8 to 10—Bishop Echevarría had the opportunity to see the development of the apostolic work of Opus Dei during the 14 years since his last trip there, in 2001.

On Sunday the 9th, in the Conference and Events area of the Hyatt Hotel, a large number of families met with the Prelate, who spoke about the value of work, family life, and friendship with God amid the ordinary circumstances of their life, especially in the exercise of their profession. Bishop Echevarría encouraged all of those present to do a wider apostolate among their relatives and friends.

In the afternoon the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, received him. On the same day he visited the Arbor and Trimont high schools, two educational centers started by faithful and cooperators of Opus Dei. The teaching personnel and a group of married couples spoke with him about focusing their educational programs on fostering freedom and personal responsibility.

During his stay in the country, the Prelate blessed a future student residence now under construction. He also had an opportunity to get to know various centers of the Prelature and speak with many people who take part in the apostolic work there.

Colombia, from August 10 to 16

The Prelate of Opus Dei arrived in Bogotá on Monday, August 10. His last pastoral visit there had been in 2001.

On the 11th he had a get-together with several bishops and more than a hundred diocesan priests in Los Cerros School in Bogotá. Among other topics he spoke about the need to show great care in celebrating the Holy Mass and in the formation of seminarians. On finishing, he greeted the bishops present and spoke with them at some length. In the evening he had a get-together with 6,000 people at La Sabana University.

On Wednesday the 12th he traveled to Medellin, where he met with more than 4,000 people in the Plaza Mayo Convention Center. Bishop Echevarría spoke about forgiveness, reconciliation and the desire for peace on the part of all Colombians. He also insisted that they pray especially for the Ordinary Synod on the Family that would be taking place in October.

On Friday the 14th, after his return to Bogotá, he met with more than 400 young students in the library of Los Cerros High School. He advised them not to be afraid to launch out to speak about God and to carry out a wide-ranging mission of catechesis.

On the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady on August 15, in a gathering with more than 700 faithful of Opus Dei, Bishop Echevarría recalled St. Josemaría’s great love for our Lady. “Ask our Lady to give you the zeal to be very close to Christ, so that you can speak about him as she did,” the Prelate said.

On Sunday the 16th, just hours before leaving the country, he asked the more than 7,000 people taking part in the gathering at the University of La Sabana not to skimp in their efforts to transmit God’s love to everyone in Colombia. Love for the Church, for the Pope, for our Lady; love in marriage and in the family: “In Colombia you have a great heart, and therefore I tell you: love one another a lot; may you love each other with the love of Christ Jesus, as St. Josemaría used to say, because nothing is difficult for the one who truly loves,” he stressed.

Romana, n. 61, July-December 2015, p. 253-254.

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