Bishop Javier Echevarria died on Dec 12.

Despite the short notice, some 300 people turned up at the Church of the Holy Spirit for a requiem Mass for the late Opus Dei leader, Bishop Javier Echevarria.

Fr Avelino Marin, Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in Southeast Asia, was the main celebrant at the Dec 16 Mass. The other concelebrants were two other priests of Opus Dei – Fr Michael Chan and Fr Jose Lopez – and Fr Luke Fong.

Bishop Echevarria was 84 when he passed away in Rome on Dec 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

He was the second successor of St Josemaria Escriva as head of Opus Dei.

In his homily, Fr Marin recalled that “the last moments of Bishop Javier were something beautiful: they tell us that death is something different when one has been faithful to God”.

The peace that Bishop Echevarria enjoyed in his last days tells us that it is worthwhile to say yes to God, said Fr Marin.

He added that despite weakness and discomfort during his last days in hospital, Bishop Echevarria was attentive to the needs of those around him – his nurses, doctors, the friends who were accompanying him and the other sick people in hospital.

Celebrating the requiem Mass for Bishop Javier Echevarria were (from left): Fr Jose Lopez, Fr Luke Fong, Fr Avelino Marin and Fr Michael Chan.

The late bishop’s great capacity to love others flowed from his love for God and his prayer life, said Fr Marin, adding that prayer was the most important part of Bishop Echevarria’s day, no matter how busy his schedule was.

A particular aspect of his spirit of service was his desire to serve the Church and his love for those who represent Christ on earth – the pope and all bishops, said Fr Marin.

Some of those who attended the Mass recalled their personal encounter with Bishop Echevarria during his visit to Singapore in May 2014.

Despite his age and frailty, he made himself available to the requests of all, they recalled.

By Dominic Cooray and Ivan Clement

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