In a category all its own, Opus Dei offers spiritual support

| Susan Klemond for The Catholic Spirit | July 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
St. Josemaria Escriva

St. Josemaria Escriva

Local Opus Dei members commemorated the 40th anniversary of the death of their founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, June 26 with a memorial Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul celebrated by Bishop Andrew Cozzens.

Better known than many lay movements, Opus Dei isn’t actually one of them. Defined under Canon Law as a personal prelature, Opus Dei has its own bishop whose jurisdiction isn’t geographical, but rather covers members wherever they are.

Opus Dei is so far the only organization to be granted personal prelature status, which it gained from St. John Paul II in 1982.

The pastoral mission of Opus Dei, Latin for “work of God,” is to promote the universal call to holiness outlined by the Second Vatican Council by providing spiritual support for lay men and women and priests to grow closer to God in their work and everyday lives, and share the faith with others, said Brian Finnerty, Opus Dei’s U.S. communications director based in Washington, D.C.

Founded in Spain in 1928, Opus Dei has members in more than 90 countries. St. Josemaria is considered the saint of everyday life and his work anticipated Vatican II’s recognition of the role of the laity, Finnerty said.

Like some movements, Opus Dei offers retreats, spiritual direction and courses and a monthly evening of recollection. Members have devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, Finnerty said.

Its members, however, respond to a call to be part of Opus Dei, he said.

“It’s something that shapes entire lives and gives new meaning,” he said.

The work of Opus Dei complements what members receive in their own parishes, Finnerty added. “It’s something that you can get in the parish, but at the same time it’s not something that you might always find easily.”

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