Leader of Opus Dei Dies at 84
Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez was the secretary of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, from 1953 to 1975.
ROME — Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez, the prelate of Opus Dei, died Monday evening at the age of 84 in Rome, several days after being hospitalized with pneumonia.
According to a Dec. 12 statement from the personal prelature, Bishop Echevarría was given the final sacraments this afternoon by his auxiliary, Msgr. Fernando Ocariz.
“Bishop Echevarría was receiving an antibiotic to fight a lung infection,” the statement added. “The clinical situation was complicated in the final hours, provoking respiratory insufficiency, which resulted in his death.”
The bishop was born in Madrid in 1932, where he met St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, an organization dedicated to spiritual growth and discipleship among the laity and teaches its members to use their work and their ordinary activities as a way to encounter God.
He was St. Josemaria's secretary from 1953 to 1975 and was ordained a priest of the prelature in 1955, at the age of 23.
He was later named secretary general of Opus Dei and was elected prelate in 1994. He was consecrated a bishop the following year.
Opus Dei stated that the prelature's ordinary government now falls to Msgr. Ocariz. He is to convoke a congress of the community within three months to nominate a successor to Bishop Echevarría, who must be confirmed by the Pope.