VATICAN CITY (CNS): Before one of the largest and most orderly pilgrim crowds in Vatican history, Pope John Paul II canonised Msgr Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer on October 6 and called the Opus Dei founder’s message of sanctifying ordinary life valid for all believers.
‘To raise the world to God and transform it from within, this is the ideal that the holy founder indicates to you,’ the Pope said during the canonisation Mass.
Police said at least 300,000 people Ð more than three times Opus Dei’s membership Ð packed St Peter’s Square and nearby streets for the two and a half hour liturgy.
In his homily, the Pope said St Escriva’s vision for Opus Dei, which he founded in 1928, harmonised with the Second Vatican Council’s message that Christians should not shun the world but work from within it.
Even in the grind of ‘apparently monotonous’ daily events, ‘God comes close to us, and we can co-operate in his plan of salvation,’ the Pope said.
The new saint ‘continues to remind us of the need not to allow ourselves to be frightened in the face of a materialist culture, which threatens to dissolve the most genuine identity of the disciples of Christ,’ he said.