Opus Dei is a personal prelacy of the Catholic Church. I was founded in Madrid on October 2, 1928 by St. Josemaría Escrivá. Currently 84.000 people from five continents take part of the prelacy. The headquarters, with the prelate church, is found in Rome.
On September 30, 1928, Josemaría Escrivá began some spiritual exercises in the missionary residence of San Vincenzo di Paola, in Madrid (Spain), which would have lasted until October 6. The second day of this spiritual retreat, Tuesday, October 2, after having celebrated Mass and received in his room, while reading and meditating the notes that he had gathered in the last 10 years, he “saw” Opus Dei: he received in inspiration from God that showed him with clarity that which Opus Dei was to be, its nature, its spirit, its apostolate. «I received the illumination as to the entire Work, while reading those pages. Moved, I kneeled – I was alone in my room, between one meditation and the next – gave thanks to the Lord, and remember with emotion the sound of the bells of the parish Our Lady of Angels».
The Vatican II Council commemorated that all who are baptized are called to follow Christ, to live the Gospel and let it be known. Opus Dei has the goal of contributing to that evangelistic mission of the church, promoting among Christian faithful of every condition a life-style fully consistent with faith in daily circumstances, especially through work and family and social duties.
“The spirit of Opus Dei possesses a beautiful reality (…) that any work humanly decent and honest can convert itself into a divine work. When one intends to serve God, insignificant trades do not exist, all are of great importance. To love and serve God, it is not necessary to do strange things. Christ asks all men, without exception, to be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect. For most men, holiness consists of sanctifying their work, in sanctifying themselves in work and in the sanctifying of others by means of work, thus realising the encounter with God along the road of their life.”
To reach this end, the prelacy provides to its faithful and to many other people a spiritual training which challenges to act according to the teachings of the Gospel, through the exercising of the Christian virtue and the sanctification of work. Sanctifying work means work according to the spirit of Christ, developing perfectly ones duties in order to give glory to God and to serve others, giving in this way one contribution to the sanctification of the world and rendering present the spirit of the Gospel in every activity and temporary reality.
The work of the Opus Dei faithful carry out is not limited to a specific field, such as education, aid for the sick or help for the disabled, because everyone tries to bring the people they live with closer to God, realizing a profound sowing of peace and happiness in the environment in which they find themselves. The prelacy proposes to remind all Christians that, whatever the activity to which they dedicate themselves may be, they must cooperate and find Christian solutions to society’s problems and give a constant testimony of their faith.
Opus Dei means “Work of God”. The complete name is Prelacy of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. It can be called, being shorter, Opus Dei Prelacy, or simply, Opus Dei..