This week on Register Radio, Opus Dei priest Father C. John McCloskey talks about this weekend's beatification of Bishop Alvaro Del Portillo, the prelate who succeeded the founder of Opus Dei. And also, listen to Register writer Matthew Archbold reporting on the preparation for the World Meeting of Families next September in Philadelphia.

Beatification of Bishop Alvaro Del Portillo

Father C. John McCloskey is an Opus Dei priest. Today’s interview is near and dear to him, as he has spent much of his pastoral work counseling university students and has worked as the representative of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. This weekend, in Madrid, is the beatification of the founder of that University, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, who was also the successor of the founder of Opus Dei. 

The event taking place in Madrid will make Don Alvaro, as he’s called by many, who was a disciple of Saint Josemaria Escriva, a “Blessed,” which is one step closer to being canonized. “It’s something unusual in the history of the Church to have a founder whose canonized and his successor is also. It’s a good sign,” said McClosky, “especially given the emphasis Opus Dei puts on the holiness of the laity. It’s very timely for the world and also for our own country.”

Don Alvaro’s mother was Mexican and his father was from Spain. He had a strong Catholic family, with many brothers and sisters. At a certain point, thanks to one of his aunts, he came into contact with Josemaria Escriva. After a few meetings and meditations, he felt that he was called to join Opus Dei, which was quite small at that time, with only five or six members.

“He was obviously very impressed with Saint Josemaria and he said, ‘This is what God wants me to do’,” McClosky said. 

Don Alvaro had quite an influence on the broader Church. He was very much involved in the Vatican Council, and even after he succeeded Escriva, he remained involved with the Vatican and continued to work there. According to McClosky, Don Alvaro had a great deal of influence on a number of the documents from the Second Vatican Council.

“Another thing that should be brought up,” McClosky said, “is the very close friendship he had with John Paul II, who oftentimes invited him to dinner or lunch and oftentimes asked his advice in one way or another. There was a real friendship, and it says a lot that when Don Alvaro died, the Pope immediately left the Vatican and came to the headquarters of Opus Dei and to the chapel there in order to basically pray for a man who died the night before.” McClosky added that John Paul II didn’t go to the funerals of people who had died, but this was a friend of his, so he felt a debt to do that.

McClosky suggested that two virtues of Don Alvaro’s that we can imitate are cheerfulness and being completely at the service of the Church. “I think those are two virtues for us particularly in the United States that will be a great help in order to bring the kingdom of God where it should be in our own country so that we really become Christian and, most particularly, if it be God’s will, Catholic,” McClosky said.

You can hear more about Don Alvaro and Father McClosky’s relationship with him by listening to the full interview.

The World Meeting of Families

You’ve probably had to organize the day for everyone in your family… get them going in the morning and get everybody on track.  Well, then picture organizing a meeting of families… a world meeting of families.  

Our next guest is Register journalist and writer Matt Archbold. He left the secular newspaper industry to raise his five children, so he is very aware of what it takes to get a family organized.  He recently wrote a story for the Register about Philadelphia's plans for World Meeting of Families next September.  In this interview, he gives us an insider’s look at what it takes to get all those families from around the world organized!

The World Meeting of Families, on Sept. 22-27, 2015, was created in 1994 by Pope John Paul II to “really look at the crucial role the family plays in society,” said Archbold. “It’s a great opportunity to give families the opportunity to talk about the challenges and blessings that all families are faced with and really, the role that it plays in society.”

Since 1994, this Meeting of Families has been held every three years all over the world. The theme this year is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” This theme was inspired, Archbold said, by Saint Irenaeus, who wrote 

“Our glory is our capacity to love as God loves,” Archbold said, “and really, our family is our best opportunity to show that love. Refocusing the church on that is a wonderful opportunity for all of us.”

This is the first time that this event will take place in the United States.

At one point, Archbishop Chaput thought that hosting this event was the last thing that the archdiocese needed. However, he has admitted he was wrong, and Archbold said that it’s all over the newspapers and that the city is excited about this event.

There are many preparations going on, including the details such as translation services, housing international guests, crowd control, and so much more.

Catechesis is such a big part of the event and it is available for order now online. This document looks at the human purpose of marriage and family, how they affect society, and what God’s intention for them is.

There is nothing set in stone as to whether the Holy Father will come, though Archbold said, “Things are hopeful and are looking good.”

You can learn more about the World Meeting of Families online, including how to donate and become involved.

Listen to this week’s show online or on your mp3 player.