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Date set for canonisation of Opus Dei founder

The canonisation of Opus Dei founder Blessed Josemaria Escriva has been scheduled for 26 June 2002.

Barring any last-minute change of plans, then, Pope John Paul II is now expected to canonise Escriva next year, ten years after he beatified Escriva.

Escriva's canonisation was originally set down for 2000, but the celebration was postponed, reportedly to avoid further crowds during the Jubilee Year.

The canonisation decision also must pass a final hurdle -- one which Inside the Vatican suggests is now a mere formality -- which is the formal approval of the validity of a miracle of healing of a Spanish doctor, Manuel Nevado Rey (who is still alive today), attributed to the intercession of Blessed Escriva.

However a report in last Sunday's London Observer indicates there are dissenting voices which dispute the miracle. One fellow doctor in Rey's home town in Spain claimed that his radiodermatitis never became cancerous. He said: "I think it stopped when he stopped using X-rays."

After the evidence for Nevado Rey's miracle has been formally validated, the decree making the canonization official will be promulgated, probably sometime during November.

If all goes as planned, then, the canonization will come during the 100th anniversary year of Escriva's birth, for which a conference in Rome and a series of celebrations are scheduled beginning in January.

Inside the Vatican/
Observer (London)