Successor of saint for beatification

There are hundreds of thousands all over the world like me who have had the singular privilege of having met personally several modern Catholic saints.  In the chronological order of their canonization, I had the fortune of having had several personal encounters with Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei who was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 6, 2002. Then during his papacy of 26 years, I met John Paul II six times, twice in Rome and four times in Manila during his 1981 and 1995 visits.  The Catholic world will see his canonization on April 27, 2014.  Finally, on  September 27, 2014,  Pope Francis will beatify the successor of St. Josemaria, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, whose 100th birthday will be on March 11, 2014.  It is hard for me to count the number of times I was in the presence of Bishop Alvaro.  There were so many of them.  From May, 1964, when I met St. Josemaria for the first time to the day the Venerable Alvaro died on March 23, 1994,  I must have spent hours and hours in his presence, either in his role as the right hand man of the Founder of Opus Dei or as his successor since September 15, 1975.  While he was in Manila in 1987, I even accompanied him in a courtesy call to then President Cory Aquino. Then when he proceeded to South Korea after his visits to Manila, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, I was fortunate to have been among the few who kept him company for four days in Seoul as he paved the way for the future apostolate of Opus Dei in that Northeast Asian country.

I can say then that my views about him as  a very saintly person go much beyond first impressions.  Hearing him countless times talking about the need for Catholics to be faithful to the Teaching Authority of the Church and to do an abundant apostolate of doctrine, I cannot but unite myself to the words of John Paul II in the telegram that he sent to the Vicar General of Opus Dei on the day of Bishop Alvaro's death:  "He was an example of fortitude, trust in divine providence, and fidelity to the See of Peter."   The outstanding virtue of faithfulness to the Church he nurtured first and foremost by demanding of himself the most rigorous preparation in the doctrine of the Church. Despite the tightest schedule imposed on him by his position as the closest collaborator of St. Josemaria almost from the very start of the foundation of Opus Dei, he found time to deepen his philosophical and theological studies, in addition to obtaining a doctorate in history.

When the future Pope Benedict XVI was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said of Venerable Alvaro:  "I remember the humility and availability in any circumstance that characterized the work of Msgr. Del Portillo as Consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  With his competence and experience, he offered an exceptional contribution, as I  was personally able to verify" (Letter to the Vicar General of Opus Dei, Vatican City, March 25, 1994). Indeed, during his years in Rome, the various Popes from Pius XII to John Paul II called upon him to carry out numerous tasks as a member of or consultor to 18 bodies within the Holy See.  He played an active role in the Second Vatican Council.  John XXIII – who is also going to be canonized on April 27, 2014 – appointed him as consultor to the Sacred Congregation of the Council (1959-1966).  In the stages prior to Vatican II, he was president of the Commission for the Laity.  In the course of the Council (1962-65), he was secretary of the Commission on the Discipline of the Clergy and of the Christian People.  After the Council, Paul VI appointed him as consultor to the post-conciliar Commission for Bishops and the regulation of dioceses (1966).  He was also for many years consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  As he learned from the Founder of Opus Dei, his great passion was "to serve the Church as the Church wants to be served."

The Decree on the Virtues, a step towards the announcement of his beatification, captured aptly the virtue of fidelity of Venerable Alvaro:  "The Servant of God was a living example of charity and fidelity for all Christians.  He lived the spirit of Opus Dei wholeheartedly in an exemplary way, without exceptions or shortcuts of any kind. Opus Dei calls Christians to seek the fullness of the love of God and of neighbor through the sanctification of the ordinary tasks that make up their day.  'To sanctity one's work,  to sanctify oneself in the work, and to sanctify others through that work'  this is the way to describe the intense life of the Servant of God, first as an engineer, then in his priestly ministry, and lastly as a bishop.  In each and every activity he carried out he gave himself completely, knowing that was where he was meant to collaborate in the saving mission of the Church." For comments, my e-mail address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options