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


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.

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro Manila …

  • Leni Robredo may run for senator
    Leni Robredo may run for senator

    The widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo admitted that running for higher office in 2016 had crossed her mind. Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Leni Robredo said she is focused on her re-election, but there is always the possibility that she would seek higher office. “There is always that possibility… because the filing (of certificate of candidacy) is in October yet,” Robredo said in an interview after her speech during the 23rd Girl Scouts of the Philippines Council …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options