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During a special conference commemorating the life of deceased Opus Dei leader Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo, Cardinal Julian Herranz noted the priest's model of holiness for the Church.
“The image of Fr. Alvaro del Portillo, who appears in the Second Vatican council helping as secretary to support the decree was like a man chosen by God,” the cardinal told CNA March 13, “a divine vocation, a man consecrated by God, a specific sacrament instituted by the priestly ministry of the Church, and a man sent.”
Cardinal Herranz is one of two cardinals who are members of Opus Dei as well as the organization’s highest ranking member, and has previously served as president the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
He also chaired the commission instituted by Benedict XVI in 2012 to investigate the Vatileaks scandal in which numerous confidential Vatican documents were leaked to the Italian press, and was participating as one of the speakers for the conference, which began on March 12 and will continue through the 14.
Being held at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Sacred Cross, the conference celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Servant of God Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo, who is slated to be beatified on Sept. 27, and offers talks on his role during the Second Vatican Council as well as his cause for canonization.
On the soon-to-be Blessed, Cardinal Herranz – who spoke to attendees on the priest’s position as secretary during the Second Vatican Council – recalled that “I accompanied him during all of the work sessions” of the council “because I was a collaborator for the Conciliar Commission who worked on the discipline of the clergy.”
Referencing the great spiritual life led by Msgr. Portillo, the cardinal explained that he appeared as a man both “chosen” and “sent” by God, adding that “Christ chose him, consecrated him and sent him to evangelize.”
“I would say too the configuration of holiness appeared during the second Vatican council,” he added “because it’s very beautiful to think about this.”
“John XXIII will be canonized, Pope Paul VI is moving on the path of being a Blessed, and between the protagonists of the Council was Fr. Alvaro, who is also beatified right now, so they reminds us of the holiness within the Second Vatican Council and its message of holiness for the future of the Church.”
Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo was the immediate successor of St. Josemaria Escriva, who was a Spanish priest that founded the institution Opus Dei in 1928, and served as its founder until his death in 1975.
Translating from Latin as “Works of God,” Opus Dei is formally known as “The Prelature of the Holy Cross” and centers its spirituality on the universal call to holiness in everyday life, teaching that ordinary daily activities are a path to sanctity.
In a message sent to the institution’s current prelate, Msgr. Javier Echevarria, on behalf of Pope Francis, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed that the Supreme Pontiff sent his “best wishes” for the anniversary of del Portillo’s birth.
Pope Francis, he wrote, expresses his hope that “you will duly highlight the precious example of the life of the faithful follower and first successor of the holy founder of Opus Dei and promoter of this Pontifical University for the service of the Church.”
“He was a zealous priest, who combined an intense spiritual life founded on faithful adhesion to the rock who is Christ, with a generous apostolate as a pilgrim throughout the whole world.”
Exhorting the current prelate to imitate the “humble, cheerful, hidden and silent life” of del Portillo, Cardinal Parolin highlighted the Servant of God’s determination to “give testimony” to the “newness of the Gospel.”
He was able to do this, the cardinal added, “by announcing the universal call to holiness and the furthering through one’s daily work of the salvation of all mankind.”
“The Holy Father, while asking you to pray for him and for his ministry, invokes the light of the Holy Spirit for a fruitful work of reflection,” the message concluded, stating that the Pope “warmly imparts to your excellency the Rector and to the professors his apostolic blessing.”