Josemaria Escriva. Founder of Opus Dei - Opus Dei founder St Josemaria Escriva, his life day by day, teachings on holiness, apostolate, laity, Catholic Church. Testimonies from Opus Dei members <![CDATA[How did St Josemaria celebrate Christmas?]]> Christmas is a very special time. We share some memories of St. Josemaria and his love for the Christ Child and the Holy Family, and how he took care of the people who lived with him.]]> <![CDATA[How to pray by the Crib like one of the people there]]> "My advice is that, in your prayer, you actually take part in the different scenes of the Gospel, as one more among the people present. First of all, imagine the scene or mystery you have chosen to help you recollect your thoughts and meditate. Next apply your mind, concentrating on the particular aspect of the Master's life you are considering — his merciful Heart, his humility, his purity, the way he fulfils his Father's Will".
Friends of God, 253

To contemplate the Birth of Jesus, you can download passages by St. Josemaría, in pdf, epub and kindle.

<![CDATA[The history of the Christmas Crib]]> Christmas devotion. I don't smile when I see you making cardboard mountains around the crib and placing simple clay figures near the manger. You have never seemed more a man to me than now, when you seem to be a child.
(The Way, no. 557)

From the beginning of December, many churches and Christian family homes put up a crèche or crib representing the birth of Jesus. Some shops and businesses do the same; it is a long-standing tradition that has become part of the culture of many different countries. Whether it is a simple representation of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus, or an elaborate series of Biblical scenes related to the birth of Christ, the crib helps people to get inside the life of Jesus Christ, as St Josemaria used to recommend. “To learn from Jesus, you must try to know his life by reading the Gospel and meditating on the scenes of the New Testament, in order to understand the divine meaning of his life on earth.” (Christ is Passing By, no. 14)

In the Catacombs
Pictures of the Virgin and Child go back to the very beginnings of Christianity. A wall-painting in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome shows the Blessed Virgin, surrounded by an aureole, holding the Child to her breast, with a prophet (possibly Isaiah) beside them. One of the interpretations of this image is that it refers to the words of Isaiah containing a prophecy of the Messiah: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a maiden shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:13-14).

Greccio and the first Christmas Crib
Greccio, Italy, Christmas, 1223. In a cave near the village, St Francis of Assisi celebrated the birth of Christ, not with figures of the people and objects, or with actors, though St Francis did use live animals.

Midnight Mass was celebrated, with a symbolic representation of the Christmas scene: a crib, with no baby in it, and an ox and a mule, based on Christian tradition and the accounts of the apocryphal gospels, as well as the passage from Isaiah that says, “The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people does not understand” (Isaiah 1:3). These animals were included in the crib scene by the fourth century AD, as shown in an image discovered in the Catacombs of St Sebastian in Rome in 1877.

After the Mass itself, St Francis sang the Gospel and preached to the congregation about the birth of Jesus in humble circumstances like those before their eyes: a cold winter night, inside a cave used as a stable for the animals which stood near the Baby and warmed him with their breath. So this first occasion was not so much a crib as a liturgical drama, but the custom rapidly spread of setting up cribs inside churches during the Christmas season, with terracotta, wax or wooden figures.

Spread through Europe and Latin America
From the fourteenth century onwards the tradition of building Christmas cribs became strongly established in Italy and was passed on to the rest of Europe. It started as a tradition for churches and from there was adopted by the population in general. The Franciscans were particularly responsible for spreading the custom, taking it to the Kingdom of Naples in the fifteenth century, where the figures were made of clay for the first time. Crib-making developed into an important art, especially in Portugal, in the Tyrol, and most of all in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, where it was actively patronized by Charles III de Bourbon (d. 1788). The custom of having a creche in the family home became popular in Catholic Europe after 1600, owing, it is said, to the efforts of the Capuchins. Halfway through the eighteenth century, King Charles VII of Naples became king of Spain, and encouraged the custom of Christmas cribs in Spain and Latin America. It is said that it was Moravian Germans who brought the custom to the United States.

The Napolitan cribs were as full of symbolism as their size would allow, often showing complete Biblical scenes, in order to pass on the many messages of the Redemption by the way they represented the Nativity.

Figures and characters at the crèche
All of mankind is represented at the crib: “Our Lord asks all men to come out to meet him, to become saints. He calls not only the Magi, the wise and powerful. Before that he had sent, not a star, but one of his angels to the shepherds in Bethlehem. Rich or poor, wise or less so, all of us have to foster in our hearts a humble disposition that will allow us to listen to the word of God” (Christ is Passing By, no. 33).

The figures that are indispensable are of course, St Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Baby Jesus. Then come the ox and the donkey; the angel; and the shepherds who came to adore the Child whose birth the heavenly messenger had announced to them (Lk 2:8-15).

The Three Kings have been held to represent different things at different times: one for the adoration of each member of the Blessed Trinity; the known world (so one is shown as white, one oriental, and one African); or the three ages of man (youth, maturity and old age). In any case, these three characters are based on the account given in St Matthew’s Gospel (Matt 2:1-12).

<![CDATA[Advent]]> Advent is here. What a marvellous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!]]> <![CDATA[Carols with a story]]> Christmas 1947 was approaching. In a students’ hall of residence in Madrid, Spain, St Josemaria suggested to some young men in Opus Dei to compose or choose some popular carols they could sing in family get-togethers. ]]> <![CDATA[Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!]]> Video. December 17th is Pope Francis' birthday. We made this video to show our affection and to say "Happy Birthday!" ]]> <![CDATA[Running the family home]]> Video. (Digito Identidad). St Josemaría talks about how to go about creating a christian home in the DVD “Take a chance on happiness”.

This video has been released containing very practical teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá on marriage and parenting which can help many couples living in the 21st Century,]]>
<![CDATA[14 Questions about the Family]]> What is a family? How can one become a good father or a good mother? What role does the family have in the children’s education and development? How can parents combine authority and freedom? How should families exercise trust and confidence in daily life?

“What is the family?” asked Pope Francis, and then answered, “Over and above its most pressing problems and its peremptory necessities, the family is a ‘centre of love’, where the law of respect and communion reigns and is able to resist the pressure of manipulation and domination from the world’s ‘power centres’. In the heart of the family, the person naturally and harmoniously blends into a human group, overcoming the false opposition between the individual and society.

In the bosom of the family, no one is set apart: both the elderly and the child will be welcome here. The culture of encounter and of dialogue, openness to solidarity and transcendence, originates in the family.

For this reason, the family constitutes a great and ‘rich social resource’. In this sense I would like to highlight two primary factors: stability and fruitfulness.”
Pope Francis, Message to the First Latin American Congress on the Pastoral Care of the Family, Panama City, August 4–9, 2014

The following are 14 answers offered by St Josemaria to questions about love in the family, family conflicts, parent-child relationships, raising children, and faith in the family.

1- How can we fill our family life with love?

2- How can one become a good father or a good mother?

3- Their surroundings influence children’s behaviour and attitudes. What role does the family play in the children’s education and development?

4- Many parents feel they don’t have time to spend with their children, or on family life. Women who work outside have all the care of the home as well; full-time homemakers can feel their horizons are too narrow. Where is the work-homelife balance to be found?

5- It’s not easy to raise children well. What is the key to it?

6- How can parents combine authority with giving children freedom?

7- What do trust and understanding between parents and children imply for daily life together?

8- Sometimes parents want to decide on their children’s career, who they marry, and even want to stop them from following God’s call to a life of dedication to the service of souls. Would it not be better to give children their freedom and let them grow up?

9- Everyone basically wants to have a stable family, peaceful family life. But in marriage and families there are inevitably daily frictions and sometimes major conflicts, differences of opinion and opposing ideas. How can these be overcome?

10- What should parents do when their children tell them they wish to dedicate their lives completely to God?

11- We have talked about parents so far. What about the children’s role in a family?

12- How is faith shown in the family?

13- How important is prayer for families?

14- Should families pray together?

1. How can we fill our family life with love?
When I think of Christian homes, I like to imagine them as being full of the light and joy that were in the home of the Holy Family. (…) Every Christian home should be a place of peace and serenity. In spite of the small frustrations of daily life, an atmosphere of profound and sincere affection should reign there together with a deep-rooted calm, which is the result of authentic faith that is put into practice.

Husband and wife are called to sanctify their married life and to sanctify themselves in it. It would be a serious mistake if they were to exclude family life from their spiritual development. The marriage union, the care and education of children, the effort to provide for the needs of the family as well as for its security and development, the relationships with other persons who make up the community, all these are among the ordinary human situations that Christian couples are called upon to sanctify. (…)

The aim is this: to sanctify family life, while creating at the same time a true family atmosphere. Many Christian virtues are necessary in order to sanctify each day of one's life. First, the theological virtues, and then all the others: prudence, loyalty, sincerity, humility, industriousness, cheerfulness....

Would you like to know a secret to happiness? Give yourself to others and serve them, without expecting to be thanked.

2. How can one become a good father or a good mother?
Parents teach their children mainly through their own conduct. What a son or daughter looks for in a father or mother is not only a certain amount of knowledge or some more or less effective advice, but primarily something more important: a proof of the value and meaning of life, shown through the life of a specific person, and confirmed in the different situations and circumstances that occur over a period of time.

If I were to give advice to parents, I would tell them, above all, let your children see that you are trying to live in accordance with your faith. Don't let yourselves be deceived: they see everything, from their earliest years, and they judge everything. Let them see that God is not only on your lips, but also in your deeds; that you are trying to be loyal and sincere, and that you love each other and you really love them too.

For me there is no clearer example of this practical union of justice and charity than the behaviour of mothers. They love all their children with the same degree of affection, and it is precisely this same love that impels them to treat each one differently, with an unequal justice, since each child is different from the others.

This is how you will best contribute to making your children become true Christians, men and women of integrity, capable of facing all life's situations with an open spirit, of serving their fellow men and helping to solve the problems of mankind, of carrying the testimony of Christ to the society of which they will be a part.

3. Their surroundings influence children’s behaviour and attitudes. What role does the family play in the children’s education and development?
The parents are the first people responsible for the education of their children, in human as well as in spiritual matters. They should be conscious of the extent of their responsibility. To fulfil it, they need prudence, understanding, a capacity to love and a concern for giving good example.

Imposing things by force, in an authoritarian manner, is not the right way to teach. The ideal attitude of parents lies more in becoming their children's friends – friends who will be willing to share their anxieties, who will listen to their problems, who will help them in an effective and agreeable way.

Being a father or a mother is not simply a matter of bringing children into the world. The capacity for generation, which is a share in the creative power of God, is meant to have a continuation. Parents are called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the development of their children into men and women who will be authentic Christians.

4. Many parents feel they don’t have time to spend with their children, or on family life. Women who work outside have all the care of the home as well; full-time homemakers can feel their horizons are too narrow. Where is the work-homelife balance to be found?
The problem you pose is not confined to women. At some time or other, many men experience the same sort of thing with slightly different characteristics. (…)

Smaller remedies, which seem trivial, must also be used. When there are lots of things to do you have to establish priorities, to get organised.

Parents should find time to spend with their children, to talk with them. They are the most important thing – more important than business or work or rest.

In their conversations, parents should make an effort to listen, to pay attention, to understand, to recognize the fact that their children are sometimes partly right – or even completely right – in some of their rebellious attitudes. At the same time, they should help their children to direct their efforts and to carry out their projects properly, teaching them to consider things and to reason them out. It is not a matter of imposing a line of conduct, but rather of showing the human and supernatural motives for it. In a word, parents have to respect their children's freedom, because there is no real education without personal responsibility, and there is no responsibility without freedom.

5. It’s not easy to raise children well. What is the key to it?
It is a question of trust. Parents should bring up their children in an atmosphere of friendship.

Listen to your children. Give them your time, even the time that you have reserved for yourselves. Show them your confidence; believe whatever they tell you, even if sometimes they try to deceive you. Don't be afraid when they rebel, because, at their age, you yourselves were more or less rebellious. Go to meet them half-way and pray for them. If you act in this Christian manner, they will come to you with simplicity, instead of trying to satisfy their legitimate curiosity by taking it to some rough or vulgar friend.

Your confidence, your friendly dealings with your children, will receive an answer in their sincerity in dealing with you. Then, even if there are quarrels and lack of understanding, they will never amount to much; and this is what peace in the family and a truly Christian life mean.

6. How can parents combine authority with giving children freedom?
I always advise parents to try to be friends with their children. The parental authority which the rearing of children requires can be perfectly harmonised with friendship, which means putting themselves, in some way, on the same level as their children.

Children – even those who seem intractable and unresponsive – always want this closeness, this fraternity, with their parents. It is a question of trust. Parents should bring up their children in an atmosphere of friendship, never giving the impression that they do not trust them. They should give them freedom and teach them how to use it with personal responsibility.

It is better for parents to let themselves 'be fooled' once in a while, because the trust that they have shown will make the children themselves feel ashamed of having abused it – they will correct themselves. On the other hand, if they have no freedom, if they see that no one trusts them, they will always be inclined to deceive their parents.

Since in matters which are open to opinion no one can claim to be in possession of absolute truth, friendly and loving relations offer a real opportunity for learning from others what they can teach us. All the members of the family can learn something from the others if they want to.

It is not Christian, nor even human, for a family to be divided over such matters. When the value of freedom is fully understood and the divine gift of freedom is passionately loved, the pluralism that freedom brings with it is also loved.

7. What do trust and understanding between parents and children imply for daily life together?
This friendship, this knowing how to put oneself on the children's level, makes it easier for them to talk about their small problems; it also makes it possible for the parents to be the ones who teach them gradually about the origin of life, in accordance with their mentality and capacity to understand, gently anticipating their natural curiosity.

I consider this very important. There is no reason why children should associate sex with something sinful, or find out about something that is in itself noble and holy in a vulgar conversation with a friend. It can also be an important step in strengthening the friendship between parents and children, preventing a separation in the early moments of their moral life.

Parents should also endeavour to stay young at heart so as to find it easier to react sympathetically towards the noble aspirations and even towards the extravagant fantasies of their youngsters. Life changes, and there are many new things which we may not like. Perhaps, objectively speaking, they are no better than others that have gone before, but they are not bad. They are simply other ways of living and nothing more.
On more than one occasion conflicts may arise because importance is attached to petty differences which could be overcome with a little common sense and good humour.

8. Sometimes parents want to decide on their children’s career, who they marry, and even want to stop them from following God’s call to a life of dedication to the service of souls. Would it not be better to give children their freedom and let them grow up?
EIn the final analysis, it is clear that the decisions that determine the course of an entire life have to be taken by each individual personally, with freedom, without coercion or pressure of any kind.

This is not to say that the intervention of others is not usually necessary. Precisely because they are decisive steps that affect an entire life and because a person's happiness depends to a great extent on the decisions made, it is clear that they should be taken calmly, without precipitation. They should be particularly responsible and prudent decisions. And part of prudence consists precisely in seeking advice. It would be presumption – for which we usually pay dearly – to think that we can decide alone, without the grace of God and without the love and guidance of other people, and especially of our parents.

Parents can, and should, be a great help to their children. They can open new horizons for them, share their experiences and make them reflect, so they do not allow themselves to be carried away by passing emotional experiences. They can offer them a realistic scale of value. Sometimes they can help with personal advice; on other occasions they should encourage their children to seek other suitable people such as a loyal and sincere friend, a learned and holy priest or an expert in career guidance.

Advice does not take away freedom. It gives elements on which to judge and thus enlarges the possibilities of choice and ensures that decisions are not taken on the basis of irrational factors. After hearing the opinions of others and taking everything into consideration, there comes a moment in which a choice has to be made and then no one has the right to force a young person's freedom.
Parents have to be on guard against the temptation of wanting to project themselves unduly on their children or of moulding them according to their own preferences. They should respect their individual God-given inclinations and aptitudes. If their love is true, this is easy enough. Even in the extreme case, when a young person makes a decision that the parents have good reason to consider mistaken and when they think it will lead to future unhappiness, the answer lies not in force, but in understanding. Very often it consists in knowing how to stand by their child so as to help him overcome the difficulties and, if necessary, draw all the benefit possible from an unfortunate situation.

9. Everyone basically wants to have a stable family, peaceful family life. But in marriage and families there are inevitably daily frictions and sometimes major conflicts, differences of opinion and opposing ideas. How can these be overcome?
I have only one prescription: strive to live together in harmony and to understand and pardon each other.

Let's be frank – the normal thing is for the family to be united. There may be friction and differences, but that's quite normal In a certain sense it even adds flavour to our daily life. These problems are insignificant, time always takes care of them. What remains firm is love, a true and sincere love which comes from being generous and which brings with it a concern for one another, and which enables the members of the family to sense each other's difficulties and offer tactful solutions. Because this is the normal thing, the vast majority of people understand me perfectly when they hear me say (I have been repeating it since the 1920s) that the fourth commandment of the Decalogue is a 'most sweet precept'.

The problem is an old one although perhaps it arises now more frequently or more acutely because of the rapid evolution that characterises modern society. It is perfectly understandable and natural that young and older people should see things differently. This has always been the case. The surprising thing would be if a teenager were to think just as an adult does. We all felt a tendency to rebel against our elders when we began to form our own judgement autonomously. But we have come to understand, with the passing of the years, that our parents were right in many things in which they were guided by their experience and their love. That is why it is up to the parents to make the first move. They have already passed through this stage. It is up to them to be very understanding, to have flexibility and good humour, avoiding any possible conflicts simply by being affectionate and farsighted.

10. What should parents do when their children tell them they wish to dedicate their lives completely to God?
After giving their advice and suggestions, parents who sincerely love and seek the good of their children should step tactfully into the background so that nothing can stand in the way of the great gift of freedom that makes man capable of loving and serving God. They should remember that God himself has wanted to be loved and served with freedom and He always respects our personal decisions. Scripture tells us: 'When God created man, He made him subject to his own free choice' (Sir 15:14).

I think Catholic parents who do not understand this type of vocation have failed in their mission of forming a Christian family. They probably are not aware of the dignity that Christianity gives to their vocation to marriage. But my experience in Opus Dei is very positive. I often tell the members of the Work that they owe ninety per cent of their vocation to their parents because they have known how to educate their children and have taught them to be generous. I can assure you that in the vast majority of cases, practically in all, the parents respect and love their children's decision. They immediately see the Work as an extension of their own family. It is one of my greatest joys and yet another proof that in order to be very divine you have to be very human as well.

11. We have talked about parents so far. What about the children’s role in a family?
The children also have to play their part. Young people are always capable of getting enthusiastic about great undertakings, high ideals, and anything that is genuine. They must be helped to understand the simple, natural and often unappreciated beauty of their parents' lives. Children should come to realise, little by little, the sacrifice their parents have made for them, the often heroic self-denial that has gone into raising the family. They should also learn not to over-dramatise, not to think themselves misunderstood nor to forget that they will always be in debt to their parents. And as they will never be able to repay what they owe, their response should be to treat their parents with veneration and grateful filial love.

12. How is faith shown in the family?
The virtues of faith and hope [are exercised by] facing serenely all the great and small problems which confront any family, and persevering in the love and enthusiasm with which they fulfil their duties.

In this way they practice the virtue of charity in all things. They learn to smile and forget about themselves in order to pay attention to others. Husband and wife will listen to each other and to their children, showing them that they are really loved and understood. They will forget about the unimportant little frictions that selfishness could magnify out of proportion. They will do lovingly all the small acts of service that make up their daily life together.

13. How important is prayer for families?
I think it is precisely the best way to give children a truly Christian upbringing. Scripture tells us about those early Christian families which drew new strength and new life from the light of the Gospel. St Paul calls them 'the Church in the household' (1 Cor 16:19).

Experience shows in all Christian environments what good effects come from this natural and supernatural introduction to the life of piety given in the warmth of the home. Children learn to place God first and foremost in their affections. They learn to see God as their Father and Mary as their Mother and they learn to pray following their parents' example. In this way one can easily see what a wonderful apostolate parents have and how it is their duty to live a fully Christian life of prayer, so they can communicate their love of God to their children, which is something more than just teaching them.

14. Should families pray together?
Customs vary from place to place, but I think that one should always encourage some acts of piety which the family can do together in a simple and natural fashion.
How can they go about this? They have excellent means in the few, short, daily religious practices that have always been lived in Christian families and which I think are marvellous: grace at meals, morning and night prayers, the Holy Rosary (…).

This is the way to ensure that God is not regarded as a stranger whom we go to see in the church once a week on Sunday. He will be seen and treated as He really is, not only in church but also at home, because our Lord has told us, 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them' (Matt 18:20).

I still pray aloud the bedside prayers I learnt as a child from my mother's lips, and I say so with the pride and gratitude of a son. They bring me closer to God and make me feel the love with which I learned to take my first steps as a Christian. And as I offer to God the day that is beginning, or thank Him for the day that is drawing to a close, I ask him to increase, in heaven, the happiness of those whom I especially love and to unite us there forever.

The above quotations were selected mainly from the book Conversations with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, a collection of interviews with St Josemaria published between 1966 and 1968 in Le Figaro, The New York Times, Time, L'Osservatore della Domenica, Telva, Gaceta Universitaria and Palabra; and from “Marriage, a Christian Vocation” from the book Christ is Passing By.

For further reading on the subject, see:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos 2232-2233.
- 10 questions about marriage.
- Letter to families from Pope John Paul II.
- Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio
<![CDATA[The Prelate of Opus Dei has a new Auxiliary Vicar, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz]]> In accordance with the possibility foreseen in the Statutes of the Prelature, the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarría, has named Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz (born in Paris, October 27, 1944) Auxiliary Vicar, with the executive authority necessary for the government of the Prelature, including powers reserved to the Prelate, except those that require being a Bishop. The position of Auxiliary Vicar is established by law in sections 134.1 and 135 of the Codex iuris particularis Operis Dei, which was promulgated by Saint John Paul II with the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit on November 28, 1982 (for more information: The Auxiliary Vicar in the law of the Church for the Prelature of Opus Dei).

In the decree of appointment, dated December 9th, Bishop Echevarría explains that "the extension of the apostolic work of the Prelature and the growth of the number of regional jurisdictions, centers and activities whose pastoral care is entrusted to Opus Dei have meant an increase in the work of government required of the Prelate." As a consequence, he adds, "taking my age into account as well, I consider it advisable to name an Auxiliary Vicar."

To replace Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz in his current role as Vicar General of the Prelature, Msgr. Javier Echevarría has named — with a deliberative vote of his General Council — Msgr. Mariano Fazio, until now the Vicar of Opus Dei in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. Msgr. Fazio was born in Buenos Aires an April 25th, 1960.

In making these appointments, the Prelate has asked for the prayers of the faithful of Opus Dei and all those who participate in the pastoral activities of the Prelature, "in order to give a renewed apostolic dynamism to the work of Opus Dei, in the service of the Church and all souls."

]]> <![CDATA[Saxum, a peace project ]]>

Inspired by Saint Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, Saxum will help pilgrims to the Holy Land to enter into the life of Christ so that "we can close our eyes and contemplate his life, watching it like a movie".

The Saxum project is a worldwide fundraising effort to build a Conference Center in which spiritual retreats, workshops and conferences will be organized, as well as a Multimedia Resource Center where pilgrims will have access to information for their sojourn in the Holy Land.

The center will offer interactive and multimedia resources that will highlight the Christian heritage and the Jewish roots of the faith. Its aim is to provide people of different religions with a good foundation for visiting and understanding the holy sites.

Construction began in November, 2013, as soon as the minimum necessary financial resources had been secured. It could be completed as early as December 2015.

Blessed Alvaro
St Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, longed to visit the Holy Land during his lifetime, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. According to his first successor, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, “he had a great desire to go [there]; he prayed as though taking part in the Gospel scenes, he took note of the details, but since he had not been there, he recreated the landscape as best he could from what he had studied and from what he read.”

His desire to visit the Holy Land also extended to all his spiritual children in Opus Dei and their families and friends, who he wished could have the opportunity in their lifetimes “to pray on, kneel on and kiss the soil which Jesus trod upon.”

In 1994, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo made a special pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He undertook the pilgrimage in thanksgiving for his 80th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination. However, the pilgrimage resulted in a bittersweet memory. Bishop del Portillo celebrated his last Holy Mass in the Church of the Cenacle in Jerusalem and died the following day in Rome.

That same year, in memory of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, the Prelature of Opus Dei, together with cooperators and friends, initiated the project to establish the Saxum Conference Center and Saxum Multimedia Resource Center in the Holy Land. The name Saxum, which means ‘rock’ in Latin, pays homage to the nickname given to Blessed Alvaro del Portillo by St Josemaria for his great fidelity to and fortitude in his work, his vocation, and service to the Church.

In 1995, the Association for Cultural Interchange Inc. undertook the search for a site to develop the Saxum project.

Currently, Palestinians, Jews, Christians and others are all working together on the building of Saxum.]]>
<![CDATA[Jobs for three people]]> Two years ago my husband was dismissed by the firm he had worked in for 27 years. We have been fighting for his rights but so far with no success. Some months later, my son also lost his job. The situation was very difficult because, as well as this, my son-in-law had been unemployed for 5 years. Two weeks ago my son got a job in a company and a week later the same company had another job vacancy. My son spoke to his boss about the possibility of taking on his father and they gave him the preliminary medical check before hiring him. The only problem was that he needed a certain form from his old firm, who refused to give it to him. We tried by other channels, but still with no result. Without that form, my husband couldn’t get the job! I was on the point of collapse, because he is 58 and this could well be the only chance he would get. Then I turned to the prayer-card of Saint Josemaria Escriva, praying with total faith that we could please obtain that form. The deadline was approaching and I could see we weren’t going to make it… I prayed the prayer-card intensely, and within ten minutes my son called to say they’d got the form. Straight after that, my son-in-law also found a job. So I will never stop thanking God and Saint Josemaria for his help at that time.
<![CDATA[It came into my hands by chance]]> During the days of Don Alvaro del Portillo’s beatification, there came into my hands, quite by chance, a prayer-card of Saint Josemaria. It had been given to a friend in the hotel where we both worked. At that point I wanted, with all my heart, to change my job and I had been looking for a job for a long time. When I got the prayer-card I started reading it and found myself totally absorbed in it. I prayed that I would be accepted for a job I had been interviewed for shortly before. A week later I got a call offering me the job contract. I am sure it is a miracle by St Josemaria, and as a result I am saying his prayer every day.
<![CDATA[1924.12.20]]> Saint Josemaría was ordained a deacon in the church of the San Carlos Seminary, Zaragoza, Spain, by Bishop Miguel de los Santos, at the age [...]]]> <![CDATA[A Gospel Christmas Crib]]> A short Christmas video showing the different figures in the Crib, accompanied by parts of the Gospel narrative with a musical background. A charming source of ideas for making your own crib, and a source of inspiration for devotion and prayer at Christmas.]]> <![CDATA[The Christ Child]]> Video. St Josemaria with a figure of the Christ Child in his arms talking to people in Opus Dei in Rome, Christmas 1972.]]> <![CDATA[Pope's General Audience: The family is a gift, that should be cherished]]> Video. In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis talked about the importance of the family. He explained that Jesus chose to be part of a family. Just like Mary and St. Joseph welcomed Jesus, he called on all Christian families to truly embrace Jesus and His message.]]> <![CDATA[God is here]]> Audio in English of the Christmas homily: "Christ Triumphs Through Humility", given by St Josemaria on December 24, 1963. Published in Christ Is Passing By.]]> <![CDATA[Christmas cards of St Josemaria]]> Here are some downloadable Christmas cards with photographs of St Josemaria, taken during Christmases 1968 and 1969. ]]>