Special and joyous occasion
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison () - July 25, 2008 - 12:00am

July 27 to August 1, 2008 is a very special occasion and a cause of great joy for the lay faithful and the clergy of the Opus Dei. During those five days, the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Eche-varria is visiting the Philippines to meet and converse with them, their relatives, friends, including my family and so many other families and Filipino Catholics, in several get-togethers for heart to heart dialogues about matters that would be of interest and help in our spiritual life and apostolate.

The General Get-Together with Bishop Echevarria will be on July 29, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. at the SMX Exhibit Halls, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex Pasay City. In that gathering the good Bishop will talk about such topics as the meaning of our earthly existence, holiness or union with God as the main goal of our life and the real source of happiness; the importance of being a coherent Christian; the grandeur of ordinary things; the meaning of suffering; etc. All those interested can just proceed to the venue of the gathering where tickets will be distributed.

Prior to the General Assembly, or on Monday, July 28, 2008 at 4:45 p.m., Bishop Echevarria will also have a special get-together with young ladies (15-24 years old and single) at Teatro Aguinaldo inside Camp Aguinaldo. Young ladies would surely appreciate and be interested in this gathering since the Prelate will talk about topics addressing young peoples’ concerns especially at this day and age. Then on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at the same time and venue, it will be the turn of the men to have a get-together with the Bishop.

Bishop Javier Echevarria, who is fondly called “the Father” by members of Opus Dei is 76 years old and was born in Madrid, Spain. He holds doctorates in both civil and canon law. He was ordained a priest in 1955. He worked closely with Saint Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei as his personal secretary from 1953 until the latter’s death in 1975. Since 1966 he has been a part of the General Council of Opus Dei. In 1975, when Bishop Alvaro del Portillo succeeded St. Josemaria as head of the Opus Dei, Bishop Echevarria was named secretary general or vicar general. He has been a consultor to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints since 1981, and consultor to the Congregation of the Clergy since 1995. His election and his appointment by Pope John Paul II as Prelate of Opus Dei took place in 1994, and in January 1995 he was ordained Bishop, the rank of a Prelate in the Church hierarchy.

Opus Dei (“The Work of God” or “The Work”) is a Catholic Institution founded by Saint Josemaria Escriva on October 2, 1928 in Spain. Its mission is to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others and for improving society. It complements the work of local churches by offering classes, talks, retreats and pastoral care that help people develop their personal spiritual life and apostolate. Since its founding in 1928, it has now 87,000 members spread in 64 countries who will be especially praying for about 4,000 members in the Philippines and its regional vicar, Monsignor Joseph Duran during this visit of the Prelate.

On November 28, 1982, Pope John Paul II erected Opus Dei as a Personal Prelature. This canonical structure allows “The Work” to assist the Church’s evangelization in accord with the charism received from its founder who believed that “it is through his ordinary work and the fulfillment of his personal, family and social duties that man sanctifies himself and glorifies God”. It is composed of lay people, both men and women, and priests of the Society of the Holy Cross established 15 years after it was founded. The members have a commitment to spiritual formation and to participate in its mission.

A personal prelature is made up of a particular group of faithful and is structured in a hierarchical manner, with a Prelate who is its head and source of unity, and priests and deacons who assist him. It is part of the Catholic Church and its function is to foster Christian life and the Church’s evangelizing mission in a way that complements the dioceses to which a member of a personal prelature continue to belong. It does not constitute a separate group within a diocese. The diocese refers to a specific territory while a prelature live and act within one or several dioceses with which they cooperate by fulfilling their specific ecclesial purpose. The creation of a personal prelature depends on the Holy See, the Roman Pontiff who also appoints it head, the Prelate.

I  became close to and learned more about Opus Dei through my late daughter, Joyce who was a member for more than 20 years until her death. What I only read and heard about “The Work” was vividly demonstrated by her own life that my family and I experienced personally and as told by her friends. She literally gave her heart and soul and all her strength to any work she set out to do, big or small. Her love for work for the sake of others was reflected by her extraordinary zest for life until “time is up”. When she was already stricken with cancer, she maintained that gentle look and friendly smile typical of Opus Dei girls even as she was under extreme pain. During my almost daily visits to her, I came face to face with the “cross” and learned how to accept it with serenity and joy. When she loved she loved all the way and when she worked she worked to the very end up to the last ounce of her strength. We thank God and Opus Dei for her.  

Note: Books containing compilation of my articles on Labor Law and Criminal Law (Vols. I and II) are now available. Call tel. 7249445.

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E-mail at: jcson@pldtdsl.net

BISHOP BISHOP ECHEVARRIA DATE DEI OPUS OPUS DEI
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