Saturday, June 26, 2010

Celebrating St. Josemaria Escriva - Cosmas and Damian Society for Medical Ethics BBQ

Today, the third anniversary of my installation as Archbihsop of Ottawa, at 11 o'clock in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, I will officiate at this year's observance of the Feast of St. Josemaria Escriva. All are welcome.

St. Josemaría Escrivá was born in 1902 at Barbastro Spain. He was ordained in Saragossa in 1925 and founded Opus Dei which opened a new way for the faithful to sanctify themselves in the midst of the world. He died on June 26, 1975 and was canonized a saint on October 6, 2002.

Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9, 1902 and had five siblings: Carmen (1899-1957) and Santiago (1919-1994) and three younger sisters who died when they were small children. His parents, José and Dolores, gave their children a deep Christian education.

In 1915, José Escrivá's business failed and he found other work, which required the family to move to Logrono. It was as a teenager in Logrono that Josemaria for the first time sensed his vocation. Moved by the sight of footprints left in the snow by a barefoot friar, he sensed that God was asking something of him, though he did not know exactly what it was. He thought becoming a priest would help him discover and fulfill this calling from God, so he began to prepare for the priesthood, first in Logrono and later in Saragossa.

Josemaría's father died in 1924, leaving him as head of the family. After his ordination in 1925, he began his ministry in a rural parish, and subsequently continued it in Saragossa. In 1927, Fr. Josemaría's bishop gave him permission to move to Madrid to obtain his doctorate in law.

On October 2, 1928, during a spiritual retreat, Fr. Josemaría saw what it was that God was asking of him: to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. From then on he worked on carrying out this task, meanwhile continuing his priestly ministry, particularly to the poor and the sick.

During these early years of Opus Dei, he was also studying at the University of Madrid and teaching classes in order to support his family. When the Civil War broke out in Madrid, religious persecution forced Fr. Josemaría to exercise his priestly ministry clandestinely and to move from place to place seeking refuge. Eventually, he was able to leave the Spanish capital; and, after a harrowing escape across the Pyrenees, he took up residence in Burgos. When the war concluded in 1939, he returned to Madrid and finally obtained his doctorate in law. In the years that followed he gave many retreats to laity, priests, and religious, and continued working assiduously to develop Opus Dei.

In 1946 Fr. Josemaría took up residence in Rome. During his years in Rome, he obtained a doctorate in Theology from the Lateran University and was appointed by Pope Pius XII as a consultor to two Vatican Congregations, as an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, and as an honorary prelate.

He traveled frequently from Rome to various European countries, and to Mexico on one occasion, to spark the growth of Opus Dei in those places. In 1974 and 1975, he made two long trips to a number of countries in Latin America, where he met with large groups of people and spoke to them about their Christian vocation to holiness.

Msgr. Escriva died in Rome on June 26, 1975. By the time of his death, Opus Dei had begun in dozens of countries and had touched countless lives. Pope John Paul II beatified Msgr. Escriva on May 17, 1992, in St. Peter's Square in Rome. The ceremony was attended by approximately 300,000 people. "With supernatural intuition," said the Pope in his homily, "Blessed Josemaría untiringly preached the universal call to holiness and apostolate."

Ten years later, on October 6, 2002, John Paul II canonized the founder of Opus Dei in St. Peter's Square before a multitude of people from more than 80 countries. In his discourse to those who attended the canonization, the Holy Father said that "St. Josemaría was chosen by the Lord to proclaim the universal call to holiness and to indicate that everyday life, its customary activities, are a path towards holiness. It could be said that he was the saint of the ordinary".

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Ottawa Catholic Doctors

There is the possibility for Catholic doctors and medical professionals to associate in a manner that allows them to bring their faith to bear on ethical issues that arise in their profession and to support onen another. Dr. John Gay has been the leader of this group, the Sts. Cosmas and Damian Society for Medical Ethics, for some years now; Opus Dei priest Father Paul Cormier is their chaplain.

Earlier this week, some members of the group under the patronage of earlier Christian doctors and martyrs came to together for a barbecue at the home of Dr. Tim Lau to mark the end of this year's activities. Some photos from the event:

1 comment:

  1. Dear Excellency,

    From Parkhill Residence, we want to thank you for your presence with us this morning. We truly appreciate your comments on Saint Josemaria. We entrust to him your intentions.

    Jean Rheaume, Frs Paul and Denis