Cardinal celebrates feast day Mass of Opus Dei founder

An image of St. Josemaria Escriva visible in the background, Cardinal O’Malley delivers his homily at the June 26 Mass celebrating the feast day of the Opus Dei founder.

BOSTON— Over 700 Catholics, many of them members of Opus Dei, celebrated the feast day of the prelature’s founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, with a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on June 26. Opus Dei members compared the gathering to a family reunion.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrated the Mass and in his homily spoke about St. Josemaria, relating his life to the Gospel reading and the life of St. Peter.

In the Gospel, Jesus calls on the disciples to cast their fishing nets out into the deep. Peter responds, saying “We have toiled all night and caught nothing. At Your words I will throw out the net,” he said.

Then the disciples catch more than enough fish to fill several boats, and Jesus tells them that they must be fishers of men, he said.

“When we heed Jesus’ words, the nets will be filled,” said Cardinal O’Malley.

Peter, who experienced his poverty when he was unable to catch fish on his own, was astonished and fell down at Jesus’ feet declaring his own unworthiness, he said.

“The closer that we draw to God’s holiness, the more we become conscious of our own sinfulness and unworthiness,” he added.

St. Josemaria understood that all are called to follow Jesus up close through a life of prayer, mortification, fidelity and service, he said.

St. Josemaria was born in Spain in 1902, ordained at 24 years old and founded Opus Dei in 1928. The Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936, forced him to take refuge in France for a few years.

“In a world where activism is the order of the day, St. Josemaria insists that the interior life of prayer and a rigorous intellectual vocation is crucial to prepare us for ministry and pastoral work,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “The Church is the beneficiary of the charism that has brought so many thousands of Catholics into a deep communion with Christ.”

The remarkable growth of Opus Dei is a sign of God’s hand at work in the institution, which challenges Catholics to follow Jesus with generosity. Through their generosity, fidelity and joy, members of Opus Dei will help others to discover God’s presence, he added.

“May you, like Peter, like St. Josemaria, be fishers of men,” Cardinal O’Malley said to those gathered.

Joseph G. Billmeier, president of the Chestnut Hill Foundation, a center for men run by Opus Dei, said the institution has held a Mass in honor of St. Josemaria every year since he died in 1975. St. Josemaria was beatified in 1992 and proclaimed a saint 10 years later.

The Mass is open to everyone in order to give all the opportunity to hear more about St. Josemaria’s message of sanctifying ordinary life, he added.

Two members of Opus Dei, which means “work of God,” came to Boston and began enlisting members in the early 1950s. The organization grew by word of mouth and now has over 300 local members, most of whom are married men and women. The regional vicar resides in New York and is the United States’ representative of Opus Dei’s prelate, he said.

In addition to their location in Chestnut Hill, the organization has residences in Cambridge, Boston and Newton as well as a retreat center in Pembroke, he said.

In Boston, Opus Dei facilitates many activities for members and others interested in the charism of St. Josemaria. They have evenings of recollection for both men and women, spiritual direction, service opportunities and workshops for youth, spiritual formation for priests and classes on prayer, the Mass and leading a life of virtue, Billmeier said.

Peter Buckley, a member for over 10 years, said the organization has enriched his faith life. He was originally attracted to the organization because of the joy of its members, he added.

“There’s a great family environment,” he said of the feast day Mass. “Sometimes it’s the one time a year that you see some folks.”

“It’s a chance for all the families to unite in prayer,” said Irene Dorgan, the director of Bayridge, a Boston residence for college women of all faiths.

Brenda and Paul Thordarson agreed, calling the Mass a “family reunion.”

Both added that although “The DaVinci Code” book and recent release of the movie have spread erroneous and negative facts about Opus Dei, the publicity has led to positive conversations about the institution’s true purpose.

“It provides a springboard. It really is a good conversation starter,” said Brenda.

Paul said that Opus Dei has helped him to appreciate the full depth of his Catholic faith.

“It helps people to come closer to God without leaving the world,” Brenda added.


Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People&rsquo;s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan&ograve; about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...