Participation, Listening, Unity

In Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz’s message on November 15, which is included in this issue of Romana, the Prelate announced that during the year 2024 Regional Assemblies (also called Work Weeks) will be held in all the Prelature’s circumscriptions.

What are these assemblies and what is their purpose? As foreseen in Opus Dei’s statutes (nos. 162-170), the Regional Assemblies are a tool for studying in each place the most relevant topics for the formation and apostolic mission of its members, and to take stock of the activity carried out since the previous Assembly. They take place every ten years and all the members – together with cooperators and friends who so desire – can participate by communicating their experiences, suggestions and proposals (no. 167).

St. Josemaría convoked the first “Work Week” in 1943, in Madrid, in which 16 people took part. For the women, the first one took place in 1948. During the foundational years there were six such assemblies. From the beginning, St. Josemaría understood the importance of everyone’s participation, which is expressed in point 167 of the statutes. Since the founder’s death, they have been held regularly in the various circumscriptions.

The theme of the 2024 Regional Assemblies is: The Road to the Centennial of the Work. Going More Deeply into Our Charism and Renewing Our Desire to Serve God, the Church, and Society. As Monsignor Ocáriz emphasized, “thus we will begin preparing in a more specific way for the centennial, in which I would like all of you to take part.”

The Prelate added that “this will be an opportunity to deepen in the ‘gift of the Spirit received by Saint Josemaría’ (Ad charisma tuendum), in the beauty of the mission of service to the Church and society, and in the desire to accompany many people on the path to heaven.” It will also be an opportunity “to reflect on how to respond to the challenges of the present time in light of the spirit of Opus Dei.”

As we approach the beginning of the upcoming Regional Assemblies, we pray to God that these months of broad participation and mutual listening will facilitate unity in diversity, and be a true manifestation of the “walking together” to which the whole Church is summoned. As Pope Francis invites us, let us keep in mind that the first listening is to the voice of God, because “the Church advances, journeys together, is synodal. But the Spirit is always the great ‘protagonist’ of the Church’s life” (Francis, Address to the Faithful of the Diocese of Rome, September 18, 2021).

Romana, n. 77, July-December 2023, p. 155.

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