Pope Francis on Monday confirmed the election of Monsignor Fernando Ocariz Braña as Prelate of Opus Dei.
The priest becomes the third
successor of St. Josemaria Escriva as head of the personal prelature.
The Jan. 23 election of Msgr. Ocariz was not unexpected, as he had
been auxiliary to the previous prelate, Bishop Javier Echevarría, and
was his natural replacement.
Bishop Echevarría died Dec. 12 at the age
Msgr. Ocariz was born in Paris in 1944 to a Spanish family who had been exiled because of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
He studied physical sciences at the University of Barcelona, and
received a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University
in 1969. In 1971 he was ordained a priest, and earned a doctorate in
theology from the University of Navarre.
The priest was among the founding professors of the Pontifical
University of the Holy Cross, and has served as a consultor to several
dicasteries of the Roman Curia. He has authored several works on
theology and philosophy.
Since 1994 Msgr. Ocariz has been vicar general of Opus Dei, and he was named Auxiliary Vicar in 2014.
The election process began Jan. 21 with a plenary meeting of the
Central Advisory, the prelature’s women’s council.
submitted the names of priests whom they think is best suited to be
prelate, passing these recommendations to the congress, who voted for a
candidate with these suggestions in mind.
The elective congress began Jan. 23, and was able to quickly settle upon Msgr. Ocariz.
Now that he has been confirmed as prelate, Msgr. Ocariz will in the
upcoming days propose nominations to the congress for his vicars and
other members of the councils that will assist him for an eight-year
Founded in 1928 by St. Josemaria Escriva, Opus Dei’s spirituality
emphasizes that holiness can be achieved by anyone.
It is dedicated to
spiritual growth and discipleship among the laity, teaching its members
to use their work and their ordinary activities as a way to encounter