June 28, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Pope signed a decree that recognizes the 'heroic virtues' of Alvaro del Portillo. He was the first successor of St. Josemaría Escrivá, who founded the Opus Dei. He was also his closest collaborator.
This step is actually key, as his beatification process goes further. It means, that Benedict XVI recognizes that “Don Alvaro” exemplified Christian virtues in his life.
Now, those working on his cause for beatification, must present a documented miracle to the Vatican. If it's approved by experts, theologians and of course the Pope, his beatification could follow. Alvaro del Portillo was born in Madrid, Spain in 1914. His mother was Mexican, his father was Spanish. He studied Civil Engineering, Philosophy and Theology.
He was one of the first members of the Opus Dei and one of St. Escriva's main collaborators. In fact it was him who encouraged Portillo to become a priest.
He took part in preparing the Second Vatican Council and in that Council, he also served as Secretary of the Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and Christian People. This commission issued the Presbyterorum Ordinis decree, which deals with the role of priests.
After the death of St. Josemaria in 1975, he was elected as his first successor.
He led the Opus Dei for 20 years. During that time, he spread its presence to 20 new countries. He also launched social and educational initiatives in Congo, Nigeria, Philippines, Brazil,
Spain and Italy, and with that development came the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
He died on March 23, 1994 in Rome, just days after turning 80. That same day, John Paul II, who considered him a good friend, went to pray before him.
The beatification process also includes analyzing the pros and cons of his life and virtues. So far, 133 people have been interviewed. Of these, 62 are from the Opus Dei and 71, do not belong to the prelature. Among the witnesses there are 19 cardinals and 12 archbishops and bishops.