Pope Francis expressed condolences to the members of Opus Dei following the death of Bishop Javier Echevarria, who led the prelature for over 20 years.
The 84-year-old bishop, who once served as secretary to the personal prelature’s founder, St Josemaria Escriva, died on 12th December.
Expressing his condolences, Pope Francis said Bishop Echevarria, like his predecessors, “gave his life in a constant service of love to the Church and to souls”.
“I join you in your prayers of thanksgiving to God for his paternal and generous witness of priestly and episcopal life,” the pope told Opus Dei members.
The Spanish bishop’s death came one week after he was admitted to Rome’s Campus Biomedico hospital for a pulmonary infection, according to the Opus Dei website.
‘Bishop Echevarria was receiving an antibiotic to fight the infection. The clinical outlook was complicated in his last hours when difficulty breathing resulted in his death,’ the website said.
Calling the bishop’s death “unexpected,” Pope Francis assured the Opus Dei members of his prayers and entrusted Bishop Echevarria’s soul to Our Lady of Guadalupe, “on whose feast day he gave his soul to God”.
Picture: Bishop Javier Echevarria, head of Opus Dei for more than 20 years, died in Rome on 12th December. He was 84. Bishop Echevarria is pictured at the Pontifical North American College in Rome in this March 21, 2011, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).