The Beatification of Álvaro del Portillo

The 2nd Grand Chancellor of the University of Navarra


A las puertas de la beatificación de Álvaro del Portillo

(Right to left) Bishop Álvaro del Portillo with Bishop Javier Echevarría, current Prelate of Opus Dei and Grand Chancellor of the University of Navarra

Bishop Álvaro del Portillo will be beatified in Madrid on Saturday, September 27. Álvaro del Portillo was the successor to Saint Josemaría Escrivá as head of Opus Dei, and the second Grand Chancellor of the University of Navarra from 1975 to 1994. Many members of the IESE community and its Members Association will participate in the ceremony or follow the broadcast live from their homes.

As IESE Dean Jordi Canals says, "Bishop Álvaro del Portillo always kept a close eye on the evolution of IESE. He promoted our projects in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He encouraged us to grow in research and the generation of new ideas, to develop a vision of the enterprise and of management that would be in harmony with human dignity, and to promote initiatives with major social impact."

A monumental celebration

More than one hundred thousand people from approximately 80 countries are confirmed to attend the beatification ceremony. The organizing committee is expecting the arrival of groups from South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iceland, India, Macao, Nigeria, New Zealand, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa among others.

The ceremony will take place in the new Valdebebas district of Madrid on Saturday, starting at noon. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will preside over the Eucharistic celebration. He will be joined by cardinals, bishops and priests from around the world: 18 cardinals and 130 bishops from 45 different countries, including the archbishop of Hong Kong, the ordinary of the small Nigerian diocese of Oyo and the Maronite archbishop of Beirut (Lebanon).

On Sunday the 28th, Bishop Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei and current Grand Chancellor of the University of Navarra, will celebrate a thanksgiving mass at the same venue. The cities of Rome and Madrid will be hosting other related activities in the following days. (View program)

A celebration of this size and scale has only been possible thanks to the solidarity of many people.

More than 1,000 families in Madrid have opened their homes to participants from other countries. And over 3,500 volunteers will offer their assistance to participants, especially the elderly, sick persons or disabled.

Broadcasts and information channels

A website has been launched to provide information about the event (modes of transportation, areas with bus access, infrastructure, services, etc.) in four languages: Spanish, English, Italian and Polish.

Those unable to travel to Madrid can watch the ceremony live online at Opus Dei website and YouTube. There is also a free application called Don Álvaro, available for iOS and Android.

The ceremony can also be followed in Spanish and English via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, SoundCloud and WhatsApp.

A beatification full of solidarity

The organizing committee for the beatification has expressed its wish that the celebration as a whole "embody the spirit of brotherly love and solidarity with the poor that characterized the life of Álvaro del Portillo, from his catechetical work with youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Madrid in the 1930s, to his promoting of social and educational projects around the world, following the example of St. Josemaría."

With the beatification being held in Spain, the organizing committee has launched a food drive to combat child poverty for Caritas and other associations, which will be taking place in 43 Spanish cities.

Many of those who work on social projects promoted by Álvaro del Portillo throughout the world will travel to Madrid to attend the beatification and will be hosting the international meeting 40 Projects Against Poverty, which takes place today September 25. The event will feature the leaders of social organizations operating in many countries, from the landfills of Guatemala to the villages of the Congo, Brazilian favelas and Filipino slums.

Rome and Madrid will also be hosting activities promoted by the NGO Harambee Africa International. All participants in the beatification have the opportunity to make a donation to four specific projects through institutions created in Africa thanks to the efforts of Bishop del Portillo:

  • The building of a mother and child facility at the Niger Foundation Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Nigeria, which will provide medical attention to 12,000 patients a year;
  • A program to eradicate child malnutrition in Bingerville (Ivory Coast), to aid 5,000 direct beneficiaries;
  • The development of four clinics in the outlying areas of the Republic of the Congo, which will offer health care to 10,000 children a year;
  • The creation of scholarships in Rome for African priests.

A source of inspiration for IESE

During his nearly two decades as Grand Chancellor of the university, don Álvaro promoted many IESE projects and personally instigated a number of initiatives, including:

  • A line of research on positive anthropology of individuals in management;
  • Research in the field of job creation;
  • Promotion of social enterprises and entrepreneurs and policies on work/family balance;
  • The training program for instructors from emerging countries through the International Faculty Program;
  • Creation and development of business schools in countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

On February 23, 1992 the Grand Chancellor wrote this message in the guest book at the IESE campus in Madrid: "IESE was so gracefully founded, to help develop well-rounded entrepreneurs. With great affection I thank God for everything I see here: the reality of a task so loved and blessed by the founder of Opus Dei and the University of Navarra, of which IESE is a faculty."

More information

Read article in the Alumni magazine