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homepage > Successor of Saint Josemaría Escrivá Beatified on 27 September 2014

Successor of Saint Josemaría Escrivá Beatified on 27 September 2014

The beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo (1914-1994), first successor of Saint Josemaría as head of Opus Dei, took place in Madrid on Saturday, 27 September 2014.

  • See various videos, letter of Pope Francis and homily of Cardinal Amato here.
  • Zenit report here.
  • Photos of ceremony here.
As Prelate of Opus Dei, in 1990 Blessed Alvaro called Fr Fergus to the priesthood for ordination in St Peter's Basilica by Saint John Paul II. Fr Fergus and a number of parishioners and others who worship in Our Lady Queen of Peace attended the beatification ceremony.
(LEFT) Photo of 11-year-old Chilean Jose Ignacio Ureta Wilson with the relic of Blessed Alvaro. His miraculous recovery as a new born following a cardiac arrest lasting longer than half an hour was attributed to Blessed Alvaro. For more on this see here (at bottom of page).
Blessed Alvaro made several visits to Ireland. His command of English was good. When he was very young, his mother got some help in minding the children from an Irish woman living in Madrid, and she was his first English teacher.
The first occasion Bishop del Portillo visited Ireland was in 1952 when he came to meet the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid, to complete the juridical formalities for the establishment of Opus Dei in this country. Lay members of the young organisation had arrived in Dublin in the late 1940s and the first Irish men and women had committed themselves to its work by 1950. The central task of members of Opus Dei is to spread the idea that all men and women are called to the fullness of the Christian life, whatever their work or condition in the world might be. Men and women in Opus Dei do this while remaining where they are, be it at home with their families, in the office, hospital or factory.

In 1959 Bishop del Portillo visited Ireland in the company of St Josemaría Escrivá. In the 1980s, after he was elected to succeed St Josemaría Escrivá, he came again on three occasions. On one visit, in August 1980, he visited the shrine of Our Lady at Knock, when it rained relentlessly. He remarked that since that was also the experience of the visionaries there in 1879, he felt it was entirely appropriate that he should share that same experience.

 Bishop Alvaro del Portillo in Rockbrook Park School, Dublin
3 August 1980

On Friday, 5 July 2013 Pope Francis signed decrees approving a miracle obtained through the intercession of the then Blessed John Paul II and another attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, thus opening the way for beatification and canonisation respectively.

For more information on Alvaro del Portillo click here.


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