Canonization Cause to Open for Opus Dei Bishop

Álvaro Del Portillo Was Successor to St. Escrivá

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ROME, MARCH 1, 2004 ( A tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome will open proceedings Friday in the canonization cause of Bishop Álvaro del Portillo, a longtime collaborator of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaría Escrivá.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini will preside over the opening session in the Lateran Palace. Bishop Javier Echeverría, head of the Prelature of Opus Dei, and others who personally knew Bishop del Portillo will attend.

Álvaro del Portillo was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1914, succeeded Monsignor Escrivá as head of Opus Dei in 1975. Bishop del Portillo died in Rome in 1994.

Del Portillo was an engineering student when he first met Escrivá. Del Portillo joined Opus Dei in 1935. He was ordained a priest in 1944.

He moved to Rome in 1946, where he lived the rest of his life. Besides his pastoral work in Opus Dei, he is known for his contribution to the Second Vatican Council. One of his chief interests in this work was to emphasize the role of lay people in the Church.

He was also the secretary of the Vatican II commission that prepared the decree «Presbyterorum Ordinis,» on priestly life and ministry.

In 1982, the Opus Dei was established as a personal prelature, and John Paul II named del Portillo its prelate. The Pope ordained him a bishop in 1991.

Bishop del Portillo was known for his kindness and humility. Journalist Vittorio Messori once remarked that Bishop del Portillo’s simplicity and charity made one want to go to confession with him more than interview him.

The Congregation for Sainthood Causes has established that, besides the tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome, a second tribunal will be conducted by Opus Dei. The sessions of that tribunal begin March 20.

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