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Yolanda Cagigas Ocejo, director of file General of the University of Navarra

Monsignor Echevarría: filling the world with good humor

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:32:00 +0000 Posted in group Vocento

Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei and Chancellor of the University of Navarra, some words of John Chrysostom came to my mind: "We do not grieve for having lost him, but we give thanks to God for having had him, and for still having him, for he who dies in the Lord lives forever. In the years that I have been working at the University, I have had the good fortune to know him and I am certainly thankful to have had him.

In the first place, for having witnessed his love for God. When he spoke of Him, he did so with passion, like a lover. Reading or listening to him was always a stimulus to come closer to the God he loved. Two years ago I was able to be with him in Rome, together with 5 other people. We had arranged to meet at noon and after greeting each other with affection, he invited us to pray the Angelus in front of a picture of the Virgin Mary, and he did it looking at her with filial trust and saying the words slowly, with tenderness.

A consequence of the above was his concern for each person. Among the documents preserved in the file I found a letter addressed to a former porter and his wife, on their 60th wedding anniversary; in it he encouraged them to give thanks to God and told them: "Ask Him to help you to love each other more and more".

committee He followed the example that Paul VI had given to his predecessor, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, in his way of acting: "In these circumstances, what would St. Josemaría have said or done? This total fidelity to the founding spirit was understood as a deepening of what was essential and a changing of everything that could be changed, whenever necessary.

His fidelity to the Pope, whoever he was, was also very striking. There was no message that the Pope said that he did not transmit to the faithful of the Prelature, encouraging us to do better. I will give an example: when Pope Francis began to speak of the need to welcome and help refugees and immigrants, Bishop Javier Echevarría immediately began to transmit that need. Today I searched for "refugees" in and found 330 results, which respond to as many initiatives around the world. The closest is the one that arose at the University of Navarra itself, where fifty volunteers from AUNOM (University Association for the Middle East) help refugees to integrate. It is also significant that, during the Holy Year of Mercy, over 80 years old, he launched a podcast every month on the works of mercy.

At the University, in addition to his close support, he is also remembered for his magnanimity. Among the documents of file, in one of 1999, I read how he encouraged those of the Clinic to have the "eagerness to never be satisfied with what we do, to never say enough, because to say enough means to stop and to stop is already a way of going backwards (...). Much has been done and much more needs to be done, only to the extent that we have these ambitions we will go further in the service we must render to the Church, to society and to the people".

Undoubtedly many more things can be highlighted, such as his submission and strength; but I will keep the same scene with which he began, on that occasion he finished telling us with a serene smile: "We have to fill the world with good humor".