Documentation

Decree of Canonization

John Paul II

Tags: Canonization, Pope John Paul II, Opus Dei, Holiness
Pope John Paul II referred to St Josemaria as the patron saint of ordinary life in the audience he had with the faithful who had come to Rome for the canonization of the founder of Opus Dei. “St Josemaria,” announced the Pope, “was chosen by God to proclaim the universal call to holiness and to show that everyday life and ordinary activities are a way of sanctification. He could be called the patron saint of ordinary life. The reason is his conviction that, for those who start from the viewpoint of faith, everything offers an opportunity for an encounter with God, everything becomes a stimulus for prayer. Seen in this way, daily life reveals unsuspected greatness. Holiness really is within everyone’s reach.”

The same idea was solemnly expressed in the Bull of Canonization of St Josemaria as follows: ‘He (…) spread among all men and women the call to share, through Christ, in the dignity of God’s children. God’s sons and daughters should live for the purpose of serving Him alone (…) He framed this program of Christian holiness in the context of one’s normal daily duties and tasks, for which reason he may rightly be called “the saint of ordinary life.”’

The complete text of the Bull of Canonization is as follows:


DECRETAL LETTERS

Honors of Sainthood are Decreed for Blessed Josemaría Escrivá

POPE JOHN PAUL II
Servant of the Servants of God for a permanent record of the matter

Domine, ut videam! [Lord, that I might see!] (cf Lk 18:41), Domina, ut sit! [Lady, that it might be!], Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam! [All together with Peter to Jesus through Mary], Regnare Christum volumus! [We want Christ to reign!] (cf 1 Cor 15:25), Deo omnis gloria! [All the glory to God!] (cf Roman Canon, Doxology). In these aspirations one can trace the entire life story of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá. He was barely sixteen when he began to recite the first two aspirations, as soon as he had the first inklings of God's call. They expressed the burning desire of his heart: to see what God was asking of him, so that he might do it without delay, lovingly fulfilling the Lord's will. The third aspiration appears frequently in his writings as a young priest and shows how his zeal to win souls for God went hand in hand with both a firm determination to be faithful to the Church and an ardent devotion to Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. Regnare Christum volumus! [We want Christ to reign!]: these words aptly express his constant pastoral concern to spread among all men and women the call to share, through Christ, in the dignity of God's children. God's sons and daughters should live for the purpose, to serve Him alone: Deo omnis gloria! [All the glory to God!]

He framed this program of Christian holiness in the context of one's normal daily duties and tasks, for which reason he may rightly be called "the saint of ordinary life." Indeed, his life and message have taught countless Christian faithful, particularly laypeople, engaged in the most varied professions, to transform their ordinary work into prayer, service of others, and a path towards holiness.

Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9th, 1902. He was ordained a priest on March 28th, 1925.

On October 2nd, 1928, the Lord gave him the light to see what He had planned for him: on that day, he founded Opus Dei. Thus, a new pathway of life was opened in the Church, so that all men and women —without distinction of race, class or culture — might realize that they are called to the fullness of charity and to the apostolate, each in their own place in the world. Indeed, the ordinary circumstances of life are the place where the Lord calls us and the hinge upon which our loving response turns. Josemaría Escrivá teaches that work, if it is carried out with the help of God's life-giving grace, is a wellspring of inexhaustible fruitfulness. It is a means of lifting up the Cross and placing it on the summit of all human activity, so that the world is transformed, as it were, from within, according to the Spirit of Christ, and reconciled with God.

Josemaría Escrivá's work on behalf of priests, both on his own and through the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which he began on February 14th, 1943, makes him a shining example of concern for priestly holiness and brotherhood.

In 1946, he moved to Rome and there, out of apostolic zeal, he constantly labored to spread the Christian message throughout the world, always fully in union with the Roman Pontiff and desirous of serving all the local churches. He inspired a vast range of initiatives to promote the dignity of the human person, to the great benefit of society and the further advance of the Gospel.

On his many trips to the countries of Europe and Latin America, he carried out a tireless work of catechesis. His reputation for holiness drew many men and women to hear him.

On June 26th, 1975, at noon, he was stricken by a heart attack and rendered his soul to God. His body now lies in the prelatic church of Opus Dei, dedicated to Our Lady of Peace, where faithful from around the world frequently go to pray.

After his death, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer's reputation for holiness spread, and many scientifically-inexplicable cures, as well as hundreds of thousands of spiritual and material favors, have been attributed to his intercession.

We ourselves solemnly beatified the Founder of Opus Dei on May 17th, 1992, in St. Peter's Square.

As the number of favors attributed by the faithful to the intercession of Blessed Josemaría continued to grow, the Promoters of the Cause chose one cure and presented it to the Holy See so that, after careful examination, it might permit Blessed Josemaría to be numbered among the saints.

In 1994, a process was initiated regarding this miraculous cure in the Archdiocesan Curia of Badajoz, Spain. On December 20th, 2001, after the customary investigations were concluded in the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints with an affirmative result, the decree on the miracle was promulgated in our Presence. Then, having heard the favorable opinions of the Cardinals and Bishops gathered in Consistory on February 26th, 2002, we established that the rite of Canonization be celebrated on October 6th of the same year.

Therefore, today, in a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Square, before an immense multitude of the faithful, We have pronounced the following formula: In honor of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity, for the uplifting of Catholic faith and the increase of Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and our own, after careful deliberation, having called frequently upon God's help, and with the advice of many of our brother Bishops, We declare and define Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer to be a Saint, and We inscribe his name in the catalogue of the Saints, ordaining that, throughout the universal Church, he be devoutly honored among the Saints. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And what We have declared, We desire to be in force both now and in the future, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, the sixth day of October, in the two thousand and second year of our Lord, of our Pontificate the twenty-fourth.

I, John Paul
Bishop of the Catholic Church

Marcello Rossetti, protonotary apostolic