Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez, prelate of Opus Dei, met Saturday morning with hundreds of families, the majority resident in Rome, but some who traveled to this city for the World Day of Families and the meeting with Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square.
Manuel Sanchez, a spokesman of the Opus Dei Press Office, reported on the meeting, noting that at the beginning of the event the prelate asked prayers for Pope Francis, saying that “the Holy Father is not looking for anything for himself and instead needs our prayer and our affection.”
In the Great Theater of Rome, close to the Saxa Rubra, approximately 3,000 people asked Bishop Echevarria questions about education, the transmission of the faith and Christian life in the family, said the spokesman.
Sanchez explained that “despite the great quantity of people, the atmosphere was very family-like.” He said the Prelate answered several questions from those present and invited them “to be committed in the fringes of the world and those around us.”
Answering a university philosophy student, Bishop Echevarria said that it is necessary “to go among the people with the humility of one who puts himself freely at the service of others, not to teach but to learn.”
A married couple asked him what contribution parents can make to children and to other spouses. “To undertake the apostolate with other families and with one’s children, it is necessary, above all, to be a happy couple, where love grows every day and it is seen how husband and wife love one another.” And the Prelate specified: “Remember that the matrimonial vocation is not inferior for one who was not called to the consecrated life.”
Toward the end of the meeting with families, Bishop Echevarria answered a question about Don Alvaro del Portillo, successor of Saint Jose Maria Escriva, who will soon be beatified. He described how he was “well loved because of his availability and simplicity” and that “once, when he was a university student, he was attacked on returning from a catechesis” and was able to transform “his suffering into an offering to the Lord.”
Sanchez added that, at the end of the meeting, Bishop Echevarria paused to greet several married couples with their children, who in the afternoon took part in the Pope’s meeting with families.