Pastoral Trip to Mexico, October 27 to November 12, 2022
During the months of October and November, the Prelate of Opus Dei visited Mexico. During his trip he made stops in Mexico City, Aguascalientes, Guadalajara and Monterrey.
On the morning of October 27, the first day of his stay in the country, the Prelate greeted some families who wanted to congratulate him on his birthday. In the afternoon he celebrated Mass in the Basilica of Guadalupe with a large number of faithful in attendance. His homily is reported in this issue of Romana. At the end of the Mass, all those present sang “Morenita mía,” as they did when St. Josemaría Escrivá visited the old basilica in 1970.
On October 28, the Prelate went to Aguascalientes. At the San Marcos Convention Center, a catechetical get-together was held in which everyone was struck by the words of a 105-year-old man, who said he considered himself still quite young. His daughter then spoke with filial affection of her father’s Marian devotion. Other testimonies that attracted everyone’s attention were those of Gonzalo Quesada, from Querétaro, who works as an event organizer,especially weddings, and Michelle Raymond, director of the Art and Culture department of the Panamerican University. Also very endearing was the question posed to the Prelate by a six-year-old girl who wanted to know the name of her guardian angel. Several musical numbers enlivened the meeting.
The following day, in Guadalajara, the land of the mariachi, there was a similar get together with faithful and friends of the Prelature, which also included musical moments. With the approaching World Cup soccer championship as a pretext, a family went on stage to present the Prelate with a jersey of the Mexican national team marked with his name. In another context, and following the Gospel of the day, Msgr. Ocáriz spoke about humility.
On Sunday the 30th, on his second day in Guadalajara, the Prelate met at different times with young men and women, mostly students of the Panamerican University. Several of them were catechists, and they put before him questions and concerns of various kinds. Some also sought to entertain him affectionately with songs, sleight-of-hand games and other activities so that he would have a pleasant time. The following day he had a get together with some women of the Prelature and went to pray to Our Lady of Zapopan.
On Tuesday, November 1, still in Guadalajara, he visited some sick people and spent some time talking with couples who promote educational initiatives such as Lar, Forsa and FAPACE. He also took time to visit the Los Altos school, where he was able to talk with some of the students. In addition, he met at the Panamerican University Guadalajara Campus with people who work in various educational centers, including the university itself.
Moving from Guadalajara to Monterrey, on November 2 the Prelate of Opus Dei met with a group of women at Los Pinos, a meeting center where, among other activities, spiritual retreats are organized. One of those attending the gathering, Edith, spoke about her recent baptism, first communion and confirmation, and accompanied by guitar she sang a popular Mexican song. On Thursday the 3rd and Friday the 4th, Monsignor Fernando went to the Liceo School in Monterrey, whose Christian formation is entrusted to the Prelature. On the first day he met mainly with the students, who asked him various questions, and on the second day with the families, for whom he celebrated Holy Mass in the school chapel. On the 4th he also met with a group of young men from various cities in northern Mexico (Hermosillo, Culiacán, Chihuahua, Torreón and Monterrey). He spoke with them on topics such as faith, the apostolate, vocation, setbacks, joy and hope. On Saturday the 5th he also had a gathering with young women who attend the different centers of Opus Dei in that part of the country.
On the morning of the 6th there was a larger gathering, for a varied audience, in the Monterrey Arena, a large event hall. Men and women from the north of Mexico, the south of the United States and even some Central American countries attended. Msgr. Ocáriz began by asking for prayers for Pope Francis and encouraging faith in prayer. In the successive contributions of the participants in the get together, many topics were discussed: the importance of virtues in the education of children, the rediscovery of friendship, hope in the face of setbacks and the gratitude owed to immigrants for their contribution to the strengthening of the society to which they move.
On November 7, the Prelate of Opus Dei traveled to Montefalco, a spiritual retreat center located in the state of Morelos. There he met with various groups of people.
On the morning of November 8, again in Mexico City, he met with the management team of the Panamerican University and several members of the university community at the Bosque Real campus. He encouraged everyone to maintain an environment of dialogue based on respect, friendship and genuine concern for others. In the afternoon, he went to Cedros College to talk with young people from Puebla and Cuernavaca. In response to a question about friendship, he explained that it grows by taking care of small details: having a good time with the things a friend likes, listening attentively, practicing punctuality, and so on. For a Christian, to be a friend is to be an apostle. Another question addressed the theme of chastity. “We could say,” Msgr. Ocáriz pointed out, “that there are two motives for wanting to be chaste: the first and most decisive is for love of God, because God wants it that way and therefore it is good for us. The second reason is given by human experience: impurity does not give joy, it leaves a bitter experience. Living chastity, increases the capacity of people to love with all their material and spiritual capacities. Whoever does not value purity tends to live a selfish life. It is not easy, but it is necessary to trust in God who gives us his grace.”
On Wednesday, November 9 and Thursday, November 10, he held new catechetical meetings in which questions arose on various topics related to the life of a Christian. On the 9th, he also blessed the first stone of a school.
On the 11th he met with young women who receive Christian formation in Opus Dei centers in Mexico City, Puebla, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Mexico State and Veracruz. Two of them took advantage of the occasion to give him a picture of Blessed Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri: “Hopefully you will put it in a little corner of your house,” they said. Two others gave him a piñata inside which was a gift from all of them. A nursing student said that she has opened accounts on TikTok and Instagram to let others know about her adventures in her work. It has had many positive echoes. “It is God who acts through each one of us when we don’t put obstacles, when we work well and serve others,” Monsignor Fernando remarked. “To serve with joy is a true apostolate.” Some others also played a violin piece for him or surprised him with a magic trick.
On his last day in Mexico, November 12, the Prelate met with families at Expo Santa Fe. The participants welcomed him with the “Mexican wave” while waving colorful ribbons in the air. The testimonies were very varied: Natalia, who is an actress, spoke about trust in God; Claudia and Willy asked about the vocation of their children; Pedro told of his recovery from Covid thanks to the intercession of St. Josemaría; a family explained the tradition of the Christmas “posadas” in Mexico, and Viviana and Mario sang a well-known Mexican song. Responding to a question about the Work’s centenary, the Prelate said that “it is an occasion on which to reflect on the reality that everything has been done and everything remains to be done. Everything is done because the spirit has already been given to us by God, and everything is yet to be done in our own lives, in each one of us. The Work is already a reality, but the Lord wants it to spread, to reach many people. It is truly a sea without shores. As a final message, he invited everyone “to be joyful in hope and to forget more about ourselves in order to think of others.”
After greeting some families, he went to the Villa to bid farewell to Our Lady of Guadalupe and then took a flight back to Rome.
Romana, n. 75, July-December 2022, p. 191-194.