Finland and Estonia: November 22 to 26, 2023

Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz made a pastoral trip to Finland and Estonia from November 22-26, on the occasion of the ordination of Raimo Goyarrola, a priest of Opus Dei, as Bishop of Helsinki.

The Prelate arrived in Helsinki on Wednesday at noon. The following day, Thursday, the 23rd, he traveled by boat to Tallinn, in Estonia. There he met with people who take part in the apostolic activities of Opus Dei and personally greeted many families. He encouraged those present to pray for the Pope and for his intentions, and encouraged them not to stop praying for peace, especially in the Holy Land and Ukraine. In the centers of Opus Dei that he visited, he showed great interest in educational initiatives aimed at young people, especially in the areas of science and art. His stay in Tallinn lasted until late in the afternoon, when he returned to Helsinki.

On Friday morning, he had a very cordial meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Julio Murat, and with the future Bishop, Raimo Goyarrola, as well as with the Administrator of the Diocese, Marco Pasinato. In the afternoon, he held two catechetical get-togethers in the university residences of Opus Dei in the Finnish capital. In addition to Catholics, also present were Lutherans, who make up the majority of Christians in the country, and people from the Orthodox Church.

The episcopal ordination of Raimo Goyarrola took place on Saturday the 25th, a frigid day but with the warmth of a united, young and growing Catholic community. It was held in the Lutheran church of Saint John in the Finnish capital, where various Christian confessions hold liturgical ceremonies, since it has greater capacity. Together with the Catholic community, numerous Lutheran and Orthodox representatives from Finland were present. The episcopal consecration ceremony was presided over by Cardinal Arborelius of Stockholm, with the presence of many bishops from northern European countries. In his homily, the Cardinal stressed the importance of the laity in ensuring that the Catholic Church continues to be a source of light in the Nordic countries, “an importance that you, as a member of Opus Dei, can emphasize and promote in your episcopal work,” he said, addressing the new bishop.

Msgr. Ocáriz also took part in the festive events that followed the ordination.

On Sunday, November 26, the Solemnity of Christ the King, in the early afternoon the plane bringing him back to Rome took off over a white field of fresh snow.

Romana, n. 77, July-December 2023, p. 183-184.

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