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Javier Echevarría Rodríguez

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Javier Echevarría Rodríguez
Javier Echevarría Rodríguez
Denomination Roman Catholic
Senior posting
See Opus Dei
Title Prelate of Opus Dei
Period in office 1994—
Predecessor Álvaro del Portillo
Successor (incumbent)
Religious career
Priestly ordination 7 August 1955
Date of birth 14 June 1932 (1932-06-14) (age 84)
Place of birth Madrid, Spain

Most Reverend Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez (born June 14, 1932) is a Spanish bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the current head of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. He holds doctorates in both civil and canon law.

Within the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Catholic Church, he is a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

He has written a number of book on spirituality: Itinerarios de vida cristiana, Para servir a la Iglesia, Getsemaní, Eucaristía y vida cristiana. He has also written his reminiscences of St. Josemaria: Memoria del beato Josemaría.


Echevarría was born in Madrid, Spain, on June 14, 1932, and began work as the personal secretary of Father Josemaría Escrivá before being ordained to the priesthood for Opus Dei on August 7, 1955.

He was appointed the Secretary General of Opus Dei in 1975 upon the succession of Msgr. Escrivá by Father Álvaro del Portillo as Prelate, or head, of Opus Dei. Echevarría later became Vicar General in 1982, when Opus Dei became a personal prelature.

With the death of Msgr. Álvaro del Portillo on March 23, 1994, a period of mourning followed. The Holy See subsequently named Father Echevarría Rodríguez as the second Prelate of Opus Dei on April 20, 1994, and Titular Bishop of Cilibia on November 21, 1994. He was consecrated a bishop by Pope John Paul II with Bishops Giovannia Battista Re and Jorge Mejía as co-consecrators on January 6, 1995.

Bishop Echevarría serves as the chancellor of the prestigious University of Navarra in Spain, the University of Asia and the Pacific in the Philippines, and various other universities under the spiritual care of Opus Dei.

He participated in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America in 1997 and of Europe in 1999, and also of the General Ordinary Assembly of 2001 and 2005.

On July 9, 2005, Benedict XVI greeted Bishop Echevarria on the 50th anniversary of his ordination, expressing his "esteem and affection" for the prelate of Opus Dei. Further, the Pope commented on the work being done by Echevarria:

Governing your Prelature and contemplating in it the action of God’s grace, you never cease exhorting its members—with your example, with your writings, with your words and your pastoral trips—to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose (Acts 11:23).
When you foster the eagerness for personal sanctity and the apostolic zeal of your priests and lay people, not only do you see the flock that has been entrusted to you grow, but you provide an effective help to the Church in her urgent evangelization of present-day society.
In the terrain of culture and the sciences, you strive to spread the Christian message in all environments, as is clearly seen in the recently established Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
You bear in your heart the defense of life, the family and marriage, and the formation and pastoral care of young people.[1]


He has written works on spirituality such as:

  • Memoria del beato Josemaría - reminiscences of Blessed Josemaria
  • Itinerarios de vida cristiana - reflections around the turn of the millennium on the ways of Christian life
  • Para servir a la Iglesia - a homily on serving the Church
  • Getsemaní — about praying in union with Christ in his passion
  • Eucaristía y vida cristiana — about the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of a Christian

Some excerpts from his works


Bishop Echevarria in a get-together with the faithful of the Opus Dei prelature and their friends

  • Christianity is God’s nearness to man. It is a close friendship and an intimate relationship between God and man. It expresses the familiarity of a beloved son welcomed with indescribable joy, music, celebration and a great banquet (cf. Lk 15: 22-24).— from Eucaristia y vida cristiana
  • Love is the substance of happiness. To love and to know oneself loved is the only true response to the ultimate anxieties of the human heart...Augustine of Hippo briefly expressed this in writing: “Pondus meus, amor meus”. My love is my weight, that which gives me solidity, attracts me and exalts me. It transmits to me height and depth, it is the origin of my peace.[2]
  • "To all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God" (Jn 1:12). For a Christian, this is not just a way of speaking or calling. Awareness of divine filiation is rooted in a divine gift that transforms a person from within. St. John puts it this way: "See what love the Father has for us, that He has called us sons of God, and so we are!...We are truly children of God" (1 Jn 3:1-2). St. Josemaria concludes that "whoever is unaware of this is unaware of his innermost truth;" he has not yet discovered the deepest reality of his being, nor the meaning of his existence on this earth.[3]
  • The secret of the apostolic zeal of a disciple of Christ is rooted in his love for the Master. This is what moves him to give his life for the others, to spend it in helping them know the divine Word and to live according to the imperatives of the Love of God. His zeal for souls is born from a love for Christ, which like all true love, implies identification with the person loved.


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