Archdiocese of San Francisco

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Mass commemorates Opus Dei

Archbishop George H. Niederauer will be principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass of Thanksgiving June 26 at St. Mary's Cathedral commemorating the 60th anniversary of Opus Dei's work in the United States. Very Rev. John Meyer, Vicar of Opus Dei in California, will concelebrate.

Opus Dei, with membership including 1,900 priests, 3,000 members in the United States, and 400 members in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, maintains the Menlough Study Center in Menlo Park and additional residences in San Francisco. Opus Dei has more than 87,000 members in more than 70 countries throughout the world.

Opus Dei was founded in 1928 in Madrid by St. Josemaria Escriva, who died in 1975 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. According to its website, "(Opus Dei's) mission is to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others and for improving society."

Approximately 70 percent of Opus Dei lay members are married men and women "for whom the sanctification of their family duties is the most important part of their Christian life," the Opus Dei website, said. Remaining lay members are single "men and women who commit themselves to celibacy for apostolic reasons." Membership in Opus Dei requires a "personal call from God to place one's life at his service," the website said, and "involves a commitment to receive spiritual formation from Opus Dei and to participate in its mission."

After gaining membership in Opus Dei, members keep their same jobs. "The Prelature's faithful do not live apart from the world," the website noted. "Instead, they view their work and social relationships as ways to grow closer to God and to help others do likewise."

Each member commits to a "plan of spiritual life, centered on daily Mass, Holy Communion, and frequent use of the sacrament of penance, as well as reading of Scripture and other spiritual texts, reciting the rosary, and spending time in personal prayer. Through a life of joyful and generous self-giving to God and neighbor, they embrace the Cross of Christ hidden in the challenges of daily life."

The June 26 Mass begins at 7:30 p.m. and the faithful of the Archdiocese are invited. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available beginning at approximately 6:30 p.m. St. Mary's Cathedral is located at Gough and Geary St. in San Francisco. Information about Opus Dei is available at

From June 12, 2009 issue of Catholic San Francisco.