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Opus Dei fills St Mary’s for founder’s feast day

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A family attends the feast of St Josemaria Escriva on 26 June. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
A family attends the feast of St Josemaria Escriva on 26 June. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

St Josemaría Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, urged his followers to see Christ not as a mere memory, but as alive and present today, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP told a packed St Mary’s Cathedral on 26 June for the saint’s feast.

Archbishop Fisher was joined by Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers and the vicar of Opus Dei in Australia, Fr Inigo Martínez-Echevarria, along with numeraries, supernumeraries, cooperators of “the Work” and clergy from the prelature of the Holy Cross.

In his homily, Archbishop Fisher recalled St Josemaría’s teaching on divine filiation—becoming children of God—as the source of perseverance in Christian life through difficulties.

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“And difficulties there will be. Jesus warned His disciples that, ‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me first,’” Archbishop Fisher said, taking the opportunity to reflect on his recently-departed predecessor, Cardinal George Pell, a great supporter of “the Work.”

“Our late Cardinal is celebrated by many as a white martyr, someone who suffered in witness to the faith, even if he was spared a bloody death.

“The same media stable that hunted him to the grave went after the Opus Dei family at the time of his funeral, and I am sure he was interceding for you and reminding you all of his motto Be Not Afraid.”

The goal of Opus Dei was to fulfil God’s call to every person to become a saint, Archbishop Fisher said.

“Through ‘the Work’ we are given many opportunities to become what St John Paul II called ‘the living reflection of the face of Christ,’” he said.

Standing room only: St Mary’s Cathedral on the feast of St Josemaria Escriva on 26 June. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Standing room only: St Mary’s Cathedral on the feast of St Josemaria Escriva on 26 June. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“So let us serve God and his people, as St Josemaría said, ‘to the last drop.’”

Tamara El-Rahi, director of communications for Opus Dei in Australia, told The Catholic Weekly it was a gift to be able to come together at St Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate St Josemaría, after years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“St Josemaría’s message is about turning the little moments of each day into opportunities for loving God,” she said.

“This is something that will always be relevant as anyone can do it—whatever their age, or where they live, or their profession.

“It’s such a beautiful reminder that we can all strive to be saints while still living our very ordinary lives.”

Opus Dei was invited to begin its work in Australia six decades ago, in 1963, at the invitation of Cardinal Norman Gilroy.

The prelate of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña, will visit Australia later this year.

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