VATICAN CITY, OCT. 6, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The 300,000 people at the canonization of Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá made the ceremony one of the largest events in Vatican history.
According to the Organizing Committee, the groups came from 84 countries. A third were Italians, a third came from the rest of Europe, and the other third from elsewhere.
The participants were able to follow the ceremony via nine large TV screens located in the Piazza di Pio XII and along Via della Conciliazione.
Forty percent of the participants were young people, who stayed in camping sites, gymnasiums, parishes, and other venues in and near Rome.
One of the oldest participants was Father Quirino Glorioso, a priest from the Diocese of Laguna, in the Philippines. Father Glorioso explained that his parishioners, knowing about his devotion to the new saint, organized a collection to pay for his trip.
“Josemaría is 100 years old and he is already a saint,” he said. “I’m 99 years old and I’m still the way I am.”
Other participants included Cardinal Adam Kozlowiecki, who was born in Poland in 1911 and who now lives in Zambia.
Teresa Funes, 82, traveled 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) by bus to get to Rome from Baza, Spain.
“I really wanted to go to the canonization, but I didn’t say anything about it,” she said. Her children surprised her and organized a bus trip for her. “On the bus, I followed the instructions that my doctors gave me for this trip: exercised my fingers and toes, took a break every hour and a half or two, so as to go for a walk and so that my heart and legs would continue to function well.”
In 1950, in answer to a petition by Josemaría Escrivá, the Holy See approved the admittance of non-Catholics to Opus Dei as cooperators. Many, in fact, have collaborated with the prelature’s activities.
Many cooperators also showed up today. Among them were Hinrich Bues, a Protestant pastor; Alik Zorin, a Russian poet with a group of Orthodox; Tapio Aho-Kallio, a Lutheran religion teacher from a school in Helsinki, Finland; Gary Chu, a Chinese painter; and Ghenro and Funso Adegbola, an Anglican couple from Nigeria.
Twelve hundred people from 37 choirs sang during the liturgical ceremonies at the canonization. Soloists included María Eugenia Mendoza, a soprano from Mexico, Conceiçao Galante, a soprano from Portugal, and some tenors: Daniel Madigan of Australia, Ignacio Esteban of Spain and Igor Glushkov of Kazakhstan.
In the first rows, 450 places were reserved for those in wheelchairs. Many of the elderly, on advice given by the Organizing Committee, brought foldable chairs for the ceremonies.
The canonization Mass was translated into sign language for the deaf. It was also simultaneously translated into French, English, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and German over Vatican Radio. The ceremony was transmitted live on television through 29 channels to five continents.