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Opus Dei Corporate Works

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Opus Dei Fact Sheet

Mission & Characteristics: Saint Josemaría Escrivá founded Opus Dei to help people live by the Gospel in their daily activities and make Christ present in every endeavor. Opus Dei focuses on work and daily life as an occasion for spiritual growth and an opportunity to contribute to a better world. It also emphasizes divine filiation, unity of life, prayer and sacrifice, charity, apostolate, and fidelity to the Pope.

Activities: The chief activity of people in Opus Dei is personal effort to grow in holiness, be apostolic, and improve society. In support of these efforts, Opus Dei provides spiritual direction, prayer and study circles, evenings of recollection, retreats, classes, and workshops. Such activities take place in an Opus Dei center, or in a church, office or private home. People in Opus Dei also join with each other and non-members in organizing various educational, charitable, or cultural activities, such as are described on the other pages of this site.

Relationship to the Church: Opus Dei is a personal Prelature, which is a hierarchical structure of the Church established by the Holy See. Personal Prelatures exist to carry out specific missions in the Church, so their membership is determined not by geography, as in the case of a diocese, but by personal incorporation into the Prelature. The faithful of the Prelature continue to belong to their local dioceses, while receiving spiritual formation from the Prelature and participating in its mission. Opus Dei is established in 60 countries and is governed world-wide by a Prelate in Rome, Bishop Javier Echevarría.

Membership: Anyone, including non-Catholics, may attend spiritual activities or participate in service initiatives; and those who wish to assist in some way may become Cooperators. Catholics who have been involved in Opus Dei activities may join if they have a vocation to a lifelong commitment to Opus Dei. Approximately 85,000 men and women are in Opus Dei, with around 3,000 in the U.S. Roughly 75% are married. Some laypersons in Opus Dei commit themselves to celibacy. Around 1,750 are priests, drawn from the laity in Opus Dei.