ROME, Italy, Jan. 20, 2017 – The election and appointment of the new prelate of Opus Dei, third successor of St. Josemaría Escrivá, begins on Jan. 21.
Upon his confirmation by Pope Francis, the new prelate will take over the position held by Bishop Javier Echevarría, who died in Rome on Dec. 12 last year.
‘Strong sense of gratitude’
He added: “We live these days very close to the Holy Father Francis and the whole Church, of which Opus Dei is a small part. Of course, we feel a strong sense of gratitude
for the pastoral work and the good example given by Bishop Javier Echevarría.”
The electoral process begins on Jan. 21 with a plenary meeting of the women’s council of the prelature, called the Central Advisory. The electoral Congress begins on Jan. 23. In total, 194 appointed faithful of Opus Dei will participate in the process. They will include both priests and lay people, at least 32-years old, who have been in the prelature for at least nine years.
According to an Opus Dei press release, “In the Central Advisory, each member submits a list with the name or names of those priests in the electoral Congress seen as best suited for the position of prelate.”
The members of the Congress, keeping these recommendations in mind, then cast their votes. Once the election has been concluded and the person chosen has accepted, he, in person or through someone else, asks the Holy Father for confirmation.
3 electors from PH
Only a priest, at least 40-years old, can be elected as the prelate. He must be a member of the Congress of electors, and incorporated in the prelature for at least ten
years and a priest for five years. There are currently 94 priests, from 45 countries, who meet these requirements.
The electors from the Philippines are Dr. Bernie Villegas, Dr. Jess Estanislao, and Msgr. Joseph Duran, who are on their way to Rome for the opening of the Congress on Jan. 21. Fr. Joe Cremades is also an elector but is not going due to health reasons. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)