Jan 28, 2014 / 04:21 am
The upcoming beatification of Opus Dei lead prelate Bishop Alvaro del Portillo brings to prominence a man of deep faith and love of God, according to his biographer.
“He was someone who reached out to all kinds of people. He would befriend the doormen in the Vatican. They’d come over and say hello to him. He was interested in everybody,” Seton Hall University professor John Coverdale told CNA Jan. 24.
“There can’t be too many people who take up interest in the doorman.”
Bishop del Portillo, a native of Madrid, Spain, headed the personal prelature of Opus Dei from 1975 until his death in 1994. He will be beatified in Madrid on Sept. 27, with Cardinal Angelo Amato of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints presiding.
“He had confidence in God, confidence that Opus Dei was part of God’s plan for the Church, and that he was called to put his whole life at the service of seeing that actually happen,” Coverdale continued.
“That’s exactly what he did. He worked very hard, even in the final days of his life as an old man and much exhausted.”
Bishop del Portillo studied to be an engineer and received doctorates in philosophy, liberal arts and canon law.
He joined Opus Dei in 1935 and soon became a close collaborator of St. Josemaria Escriva, who founded the organization dedicated to spiritual growth and discipleship among the Catholic laity. The organization teaches its members to use their work and their ordinary activities as a way to encounter God.
Coverdale, a tax law professor and member of Opus Dei since 1957, is the author of a history of the prelature. He is now working on a biography of Bishop del Portillo.
The professor said Bishop del Portillo’s personality was “very different” from that of the “ebullient” and “high energy” St. Josemaria.
“Don Alvaro was a much quieter sort of person,” he explained.
However, his life showed his “complete availability” to the Church. He served in various Vatican congregations and commissions. During the Second Vatican Council, he served as a secretary and a “peritus,” or theological expert.
“He told one of his collaborators, who had been asked to take on a very onerous appointment in the Vatican, ‘just always say yes’,” Coverdale said.
The professor worked and studied in the Opus Dei headquarters for five to six years in the 1960s, alongside St. Josemaria Escriva and
At the time, the bishop was “very much a man in the background.”
“He made no effort to stand out or have people pay attention. He was there to second whatever the founder was doing, and help him in that.”
Coverdale was impressed that a man “of his enormous talent” would simply stand by to be there “in case he was needed.” …
Go here for the rest of the story.