HomeSaint JosemariaOctober 6, 2002Facts and Figures on the canonization
Saint Josemaria
Canonization of Saint Josemaria

Facts and Figures on the canonization

Tags: Gratitude, Canonization, Church, Pope John Paul II
The Concelebrants
The Holy Father concelebrated with 42 other persons: cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests. Among them were Card. Jose Saraiva Martins (Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints), Card. Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid (the diocese in which the new Saint lived until he moved to Rome and where Opus Dei was founded in 1928) and Cardinals Sodano, Ruini, Meissner, Etchegaray. Also present were Msgr. Omella (Bishop of Barbastro, native city of Saint Josemaría), and Msgr. Javier Echevarría (Prelate of Opus Dei).

In the Presbytery
Seated to the left of the Papal Altar were more than 400 ecclesiastical authorities, cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Many of them had come to Rome accompanied by the faithful of their respective countries; as a highlight, there were 50 African, 52 Spanish and 55 Italians bishops. Among the bishops were His Eminence Msgr. Kondrusievic from Moscow, archbishops of the Maronite rite, a Chaldean bishop from Lebanon and 2 bishops from Cuba. There were also representatives from the different ecclesiastical entities, for example, Msgr. Camisasca, Kiko Arguello, Carmen Hernandez and Andrea Riccardi. Some superiors of the religious orders were also present, like the representatives of the Minor Friars, the Mercedarios, the Sisters of Jesus of Charity, the Brigidines, etc.

Heading the Italian delegation was the Vice-president of the Council of Ministers, Gianfranco Fini, together with others such as Pierferdinando Casini (president of Congress) and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Giuseppe Pisanu. Also present were: the President of the Region of Lazio (Francesco Storace), the President of the Province of Rome (Silvano Moffa) and the Mayor of Rome (Walter Veltroni). Other Italian personalities included Francesco Rutelli, Massimo D’Alema, Cesare Salvi, Domenico Volpini, Luigi Angeletti (UIL) and Albino Gorini (FISBA-CISL).

The official delegation from Spain was headed by Ana de Palacio (Minister for External Affairs). The Minister of Justice, the President of Navarre and the Mayor of Barbastro were also present. Other personalities included: Mama Ngina Kenyatta and Lech Walesa. Finally, the presence of different personalities from the world of sport and culture should be mentioned, such as: Angela Palermo de Lazzari (President of the Liga de amas de casa), and Rosalina Tuyuc (human rights activist in Guatemala).

Doctor Nevado
Dr Manuel Nevado Rey was seated in the first row. He is an orthopedic surgeon who was miraculously cured of chronic radiodermatitis in 1992, thanks to the intercession of Josemaría Escrivá. His cure was the miracle that was presented for the canonization. Nevado Rey came to Rome with a group of family and friends from Almendralejo (Badajoz, Spain).

Young people
The presence of the youth at Saint Peter’s Square was notable. The organizers estimated over 80,000 young people, of which 2,000 helped as volunteers.
The youngest participant at the canonization was Mary Immaculate Ngwengeh Amungwa, who was born on September 22, 2002 at Yaoundé, Cameroon. Immaculate made her first trip with her parents, Athanasius and Veronique. They left from the international airport of Nsimalen (Cameroon) on October 4.

The Elderly
One of the oldest participants was 99 years old: Father Quirino Glorioso, a priest from the diocese of Laguna (Philippines). Father Quirino explained that his older parishioners, knowing about his devotion to the new saint, organized a collection to pay for his trip, “I wouldn’t have come to Rome so I am very happy to have been able to fulfill my dream of seeing the Pope and participating in the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá.” He adds, “Josemaría is 100 years old and he is already a saint; I’m 99 years old and I’ll still the way I am…” Among the clergy, there was also an elderly Cardinal, Adam Kozlowiecki, a Jesuit, who was born in Poland in 1911 and who now lives in Zambia.

Teresa Funes, 82 years old, traveled 1,800 kilometers by bus to get to Rome from the rural town of Baza, Spain. “I really wanted to go to the canonization, but I didn’t say anything about it,” she said. Her children surprised her and organized a bus trip for her. “On the bus, I followed the instructions that my doctors had given me for the trip: exercise my fingers and toes, take a break every hour and a half or two so as to go for a walk and so that the heart and legs could continue to function well….”

In Thanksgiving
There were also many people at the canonization who had come to “thank” the new Saint for their own cures that they attributed to the intercession of Saint Josemaría Escrivá. Shirley Sangalang (Philippines), for example, recovered from a serious ear infection; Gabriela Hernández-Fumaro (New York), who is 5 years old and was unexpectedly cured of an allergic reaction to a vaccination; Nelson Shack, from Peru, was cured of lameness caused by spinal problems that developed after an accident.

Among others that had obtained cures and participated in the ceremony were: Acisclo Valladares Aycicena, Ambassador of Guatemala for the Holy See and Virginie Arsm from Holland, who survived a serious car accident uninjured thanks to the intercession of Josemaría Escrivá.

Near and far
A participant, Mark Gardiner, estimated that he traveled 18,580 kilometers to get to Rome. He came from Wellington, New Zealand, with 8 others: they were probably the participants that had traveled the furthest to come to the ceremony. On the other hand, Francesco Russo, who lives in Borgo Santo Spiritu walked 20 meters to get to the Square.

Volunteer medical team
Around 150 volunteers from the Libera Università Campus Bio-Medico of Rome helped with the medical services at the Ospedale Santo Spirito . Among them were many doctors and nurses for the Campus ’ clinic, even students in their final year of Medicine and Nursing.

Using the imagination to cover expenses
For many participants, coming to Rome implied an enormous economic sacrifice: for example, a group of 300 villagers from the Valle de Cañete in Peru, where the devotion to Josemaría is widespread. Aldegunda Chumpitaz explained that to be able to pay her trip, they had carried out several activities, such as selling 7,000 picarones per person (picarones are sweets typical of Peru, made of sugar, flour and yeast).

Noel Macaraeg is a young Filipino, suffering from leukemia. He is the youngest of 10 children and has a lot of devotion to the new Saint. His brother sent a request to the “Make a Wish Foundation” in the United States, an institution that grants wishes to children who are terminally ill. Noel’s wish was to be able to come to the canonization with his family. After praying to Josemaría Escrivá, his wish was fulfilled, and the foundation sponsored his trip and those of his sisters and mother: “at home everyone is happy,” he says.

Miguel Chigüichón is a gardener from Guatemala. He had been cleaning cars and houses every Saturday afternoon for 7 months. With the money he earned, he was able to pay for his trip.

Natividad and Javier Isorna are from Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and have a large family. To finance their trip to Rome, they started a “family moneybox”, to which all the family deposited their savings that they earned from small jobs that they did months before the canonization. Chus (16 years old) speaks about the success of this project, “Dad dedicated himself to making filloas (a typical Galatian dish) and Mom, biscuits. Others gave private tutoring. I was able to help an old lady and during the weekends I did small jobs with my sister. We also did some babysitting at celebrations and receptions.”

Lucille Gaudette from Quebec (Canada) who was hoping to participate in the canonization, was not able to do so because she has been fighting against cancer. Ms. Guadette decided that she could participate in the following way: giving her savings to the young participants from her city.

Participants from other religions
In 1950, in answer to a petition by Josemaría Escrivá, the Holy See approved the admittance of non-Catholics to Opus Dei as cooperators. From that moment on, many Christians from other confessions, as well as other religions, have collaborated with the Prelature’s activities. In Saint Peter’s Square there was a good representation of them. Among others present, there was: Hinrich Bues, Protestant pastor, Alik Zorin, a Russian poet with a group of Russian Orthodox, Tapio Aho-Kallio, Religion teacher at a Helsinki school, Finland and other Lutherans that came with a group from Sweden and Norway, Gary Chu, a Chinese painter, and an Anglican couple from Nigeria (Mr. and Mrs. Ghenro and Funso Adegbola), etc.

Rome’s open house
More than 950 Roman joined the “Welcome Home” program – these were families that had opened the doors of their homes to people or families that had been assigned to them by the Organizing Committee. The program was aimed at helping participants with few economic means.

“Roman families” explains Federica Paolini, who collaborated with the program, “have a long tradition of hospitality.” She adds, “For many of us, Josemaría Escrivá has been a real father. Thanks to him, we have come to understand that the Church is a family and therefore hospitality comes spontaneously.”

Holy Communion
1,040 priests distributed communion in Saint Peter's Square, in the Square of Pius XII and in Via della Conciliazione.

The stairway of Saint Peter was adorned with a carpet of flowers from Equador, donated by José Ricardo Davalos, a floriculturist with a devotion to the new Saint. Equador is one of the major exporters of flowers in the world. Thousands of flowers arrived from Equador. Also, an Italian cooperative, Il Camino collaborated with 7,000 roses, carnations and anturiums for the decoration of the side altar. Among the 25 people supporting this endeavor was Jürgen Kluempen, a Dutch businessman, who took care of the shipment of the flowers when they arrived in Amsterdam and transported them to Rome for free. Some 200 waratahs, red native flowers from Australia, were also placed next to the mortal remains of Josemaría Escrivá during the days when he was venerated by the faithful in the Basilica of Saint Eugene.

The chasuble of the Holy Father
The vestments and sacred vessels used by the Holy Father were made in Talleres de Arte Granda in Spain. The Pope's chasuble was handmade for the occasion with material that came from New Delhi (India).

The meals
According to the Organizing Committee, 55,000 participants had ordered packed meals for lunch in the vicinity of Saint Peter’s Square. Each pack came with 2 sandwiches, a drink, a piece of fruit and dessert. In order to reduce the cost of the packed meals, the company Fiorucci had donated 30,000 slices of ham; Interpan from Terni, 35,000 sandwiches; Ferrero, 15,000 desserts called Snack and drink; and Peroni, 40,000 cans of beer.

The kit for the participant
The kit contained the biography Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the Pilgrim’s Guidebook, a map of Rome and an envelope for donations to Project Harambee 2002. Each participant also received a booklet in the language that would best enable him or her to follow the Masses.

Dock of Saint Josemaría in Civitavecchia
On October 6, a dock was named after Saint Josemaría in the port of Civitavecchia where more than 10,000 participants of the canonization from different cities of the Mediterranean had disembarked. It began with an official ceremony, followed by an international festival with the participation of the passengers of the boats that had come for the canonization.

Related articles


October 6, 2002, in two minutes

It is now eleven years since Blessed Pope John Paul II called St Josemaria "the patron saint of ordinary life". A two-minute videoclip shows moments from the canonization ceremony in St Peter's Square, October 6, 2002.



On October 6 2002 Pope John Paul II canonized St Josemaria, founder of Opus Dei, in the presence of over 300,000 people from around the world.



St Josemaria’s canonization had an effect on Africa: Harambee collected over 1 million Euros to help 24 sub-saharan African development projects.