SFU honours founder of Opus Dei

Interfaith Centre at Simon Fraser University packed with students and their families and friends

“Young people are the future,” said Father Fernando Mignone, Simon Fraser University’s chaplain, in his homily, encouraging youth to rejuvenate their faith in light of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer’s teachings.

The Interfaith Centre at the Burnaby university was packed as students, families, and friends gathered to celebrate the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva June 26. The feast, which they have been celebrating for five years, began with Mass, celebrated by Father Mignone, then a reception and confessions.

“I was very happy with this year’s event,” said Father Mignone, delighted at the sight of the full chapel.

St. Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei, was canonized by John Paul II Oct. 26, 2002. “He was the saint of ordinary life,” the late Pope said, exemplifying that “holiness is truly within reach.”

St. Josemaria was a priest in Spain, where he ministered to the poor and the sick. At the same time, he taught at the University of Madrid. He later founded Opus Dei, a Catholic institution devoted to helping people turn their work into occasions for growing closer to God, serving others, and improving society. Opus Dei invites everyone to be revolutionaries of faith, to sacrifice for Him, and to bring people in the community back to Him.

Pope John Paul made Opus Dei a personal prelature, a body like a diocese under an ordinary similar to a bishop.

“Bring those in the outposts to the Pope,” Father Mignone quoted St. Josemaria in his homily. There are three main similarities between Pope Francis and St. Josemaria, Father Mignone emphasized: their common love for youth; their common intention of reaching out to the periphery; and their love and passion for the Church.

bishop miller

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, celebrates Mass, with Father Fernando Mignone, Simon Fraser University’s chaplain, concelebrating and Deacon Nick Meisl assisting. Mel Buonaventura / The B.C. Catholic.

“If you love Him a lot, fall in love with Him more each day,” Father Mignone said, urging everyone to read the Gospels, receive Communion during Mass, and participate in confession. “If you don’t know or love Him very much, get closer to Him, studying what He said and did, meeting Him one on one.”

For Father Mignone, the upcoming World Youth Day in Rio is a great way to reinforce St. Josemaria’s holiness. Along with Pope Francis, he invites everyone to attend the event or follow it through social media.

“I love how his ministry was based on striving for holiness in our ordinary lives,” Judith Ameresekere, an SFU student who participated in the Mass, said. “It gives me a lot of hope that we can be saints of the 21st century by being faithful to our everyday duties and tasks and offering them up to God.”