The first successor of St. Josemaria Escriva as leader of Opus Dei, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, will be beatified Sept. 27 in Madrid at a ceremony that is expected to bring together nearly 100,000 faithful. The prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, will preside at the beatification. Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid will concelebrate, along with the current prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria, The spokesperson of the organization committee for the beatification, Teresa Sabada, and the vice postulator of the cause, Father Jose Carlos Martin de la Hoz, outlined numerous details about the event. Sabada said 100,000 people from more than 50 countries are expected to attend the beatification. In addition, 3000 families have opened their homes to welcome those traveling to Madrid from abroad, and 2000 young people have already signed up to work as volunteers for the event. Father Martin de la Hoz said thousands of people wish to come to Madrid for the bishop’s beatification “to express thanks for his example and for the pastoral dedication of this man of peace and communion.” “Alvaro del Portillo motivated many laypeople to embody the Gospel in social initiatives that today serve the poorest of the poor.” On Sept.28, the day after the beatification, a Mass of Thanksgiving will be held at the same site presided by Bishop Echevarria. Father Martin de la Hoz said Bishop Alvaro del Portillo “was a pastor who helped thousands to discover their vocations to holiness in the Church. As the first success of St. Josemaria and the first prelate of Opus Dei, he carried out evangelization though personal contact with all kinds of people in the five continents.” He also thanked the Holy See, the Bishops’ Conference of Spain and the Archdiocese of Madrid for collaborating in the preparations for the beatification. He thanked the religious institutions, ecclesial movements and parishes that “are collaborating and participating in this beatification, which is a celebration for the entire Church, as was the very life of Alvaro del Portillo, who was authentically in love with the entire Church.” Sabada explained that upon learning of the date for the beatification, the Prelate of Opus Dei sent a letter to all the cloistered and contemplative nuns in Spain asking for their prayers.
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