Tenth International Symposium on St. Josemaría, Freedom and Commitment, Jaén, Spain (November 21, 2021)

The tenth St. Josemaría International Symposium, a biannual event held in the Spanish city of Jaén, took place in November. Some 700 people participated in this symposium to discuss in a multidisciplinary way freedom and commitment.

Among the many interventions and speakers, one highlight was the address “St. Josemaría in the History of Theology” by Fr. Javier López Díaz, who directed the chair of St. Josemaría at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome) during the period 2013-2019.

During the symposium, the book “Que sólo Jesús se luzca,” a biography of the founder of Opus Dei written by Enrique Muñiz and Jesús Gil, from the BetaFilms Foundation, was also presented.

The reflections on freedom and commitment took place through panels and testimonies. José María Torralba, director of the Department of Philosophy and the Core Curriculum Institute at the University of Navarra, spoke about the current understanding of freedom and the ways in which it is lived. Rafael Palomino, professor of State Ecclesiastical Law at the Complutense University, Rosa María Aguilar Puiggrós, technical coordinator of the Aprender a Mirar Foundation, and Víctor Petuya, president of the European Parents Association, focused on how to communicate the faith amid the challenges of the 21st century. Fr. Juan Jolín recounted his pastoral experience in the IFEMA field hospital (Madrid) during the pandemic, emphasizing the role of freedom amid suffering, loneliness and fear. Psychologist and psychotherapist Isabel Rojas Estapé spoke about the fear of commitment.

Concurrently, in the Caja Rural of Ifeja Auditorium in Jaén, the Millennials of Faith activity took place, with the youngest participants meeting with famous instagrammers to discuss freedom and commitment in love. They also attended an address by Mother Verónica Berzosa, founder of Iesu Communio, and participated in the panel “Young People Changing the World,” a series of testimonies on conversion, truth and freedom.

The closing ceremony was presided over by the Bishop Amadeo Rodríguez of Jaén, and the Vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei for Eastern Andalusia, Fr. Luis Alberto Prados. The Prelate of Opus Dei sent a message to the participants. Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz pointed out that “at first glance the name of this Symposium, freedom and commitment, might seem paradoxical, since these are presented as opposite concepts. Nevertheless they are complementary, since commitment always involves a free decision.” “Many people,” the Prelate wrote, “feel the weight of their obligations, the duties of ordinary life, and it is easy to be overwhelmed and try to escape through imaginative fancies. This option is fictitious, since the act proper to love is to give oneself, to give oneself freely.” With some words of St. Josemaría, he recalled that “it is utterly false to oppose freedom and self–giving, because self–giving is a consequence of freedom.”

Romana, n. 73, July-December 2021, p. 64-65.

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