Josemaría Escrivá's Centennial Year Draws to a Close

Opus Dei Founder Lauded as "a Saint Within Reach"

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ROME, JAN. 12, 2003 (Zenit.org).- At a Mass marking the end of the centennial year of Josemaría Escrivá's birth, the prelate of Opus Dei described the Spaniard as "a saint within reach of everyone."



The prelate, Bishop Javier Echevarría, celebrated the Mass in the Basilica of San Eugenio last Thursday. Thousands of people attended the eucharistic celebration marking the end of a year of activities commemorating Escrivá's birth on Jan. 9, 1902.

Bishop Echevarría noted the events of the year, emphasizing particularly St. Josemaría's canonization on Oct. 6. The prelate of Opus Dei said that St. Josemaría "has given light to many souls, because he radiated the light of Christ, both through his own personal qualities and through the reflection of Our Lord in his life."

To kick off the centennial year, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross organized a congress, "The Grandeur of Ordinary Life," from Jan. 8 to 12, 2002. The congress featured more than 100 conferences and round-table discussions.

Throughout 2002, congresses, conferences and symposiums took place in various countries to consider the teachings of Josemaría Escrivá, including a symposium at Northwestern University, in Illinois, in June.

Other congresses included "The Christian in the Secular World" (in Washington, D.C.); "Work, Path to Sanctity" (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); and the "Central European Congress for the Centennial of Josemaría Escrivá's Birth" (a multipart congress that was held successively in Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Zagreb).

The "Sanctity of Ordinary Life" exhibition was on display in various cities in France. In January 2002 an exhibition on Escrivá was set up in the Basilica of Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris, featuring posters, videos, books and other documents. The exhibition then traveled to Aix-in-Provence, Marseilles, Bordeaux and Strasburg. Similar exhibitions were on display in Abidjan, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Macao, Madrid, Manila, Melbourne and many other cities.

A critical historical edition of "The Way" was published in Spain in the centennial year. This is Escrivá's best-known book, with more than 4 million copies in 45 languages published.

Special centennial editions of St. Josemaría's works were issued by various publishers. His published writings came online at http://www.escrivaworks.org.