Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy delivers opening remarks at the Mass to mark the feast day of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva at St. Mary of the Assumption in Dedham, June 26. Pilot photo/ Jacqueline Tetrault
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More than 500 members and supporters of Opus Dei gathered June 26 to celebrate the feast day of their founder, St. Josemaria Escriva. The Mass, held at St. Mary of the Assumption in Dedham, was celebrated by retired auxiliary Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy who was joined by numerous priest concelebrants.
St. Josemaria Escriva, who died in 1975 and was canonized in 2002, is the founder of The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. Latin for "the work of God," Opus Dei consists of both priests and lay people who strive for holiness while still living in the world. Oct. 2 will mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of Opus Dei.
Opus Dei has between 85,000 and 90,000 members worldwide. Joseph Billmeier, a local Opus Dei leader, estimated there are between 200 and 300 members in the Boston area, but even more cooperators and friends who also participate in its work. He added that the prelature also has presences in in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.
The readings for the feast day Mass included the second account of creation from Genesis, and the Gospel of Luke's account of Jesus calling Simon Peter.
Referring back to these passages throughout his homily, Bishop Kennedy said, "One of the great difficulties of our time that all of us face is that we participate in a culture that continually finds itself at odds with everything that is in the revelation. In fact, one of the things that the culture seeks to do is to try to eliminate every single mega-narrative that exists in human history. And certainly one of the most important ones that it tries to remove is the entirety of the Holy Scripture."
"But the mega-story tells us something very different. It tells us about the way in which God has created us. It tells us about things we would rather not pay attention to, such as the Fall of Adam and Eve. It tells us about the need we have to be saved, and that we cannot save ourselves," he added.
Bishop Kennedy called St. Josemaria "a true saint for our times," and said that "on this feast of St. Josemaria, we are grateful to God for his life, for his holiness, for his perseverance, for putting forth out into the deep, for being willing to hear God again when the times were difficult."
Bishop Kennedy concluded his homily by thanking the members and friends of Opus Dei for the gifts they bring to the Church, and reminded them that "with God's grace holiness can be realized, and saints can spring up from anywhere."