In a warm and friendly atmosphere, the 13th edition of the CARF benefactors annual meeting, tourism and training speeches were merged in the eternal city as well as meeting with the prelate of the Opus Dei.
The milestone for the 90 pilgrims from Spain who visited the pontifical university of Santa Cruz with 1500 students, Eclesiastic International college Sedes Sapientae, where 85 seminarians who study at the university live and al Colegio Sacerdotal Altomonte where 70 priests in their formation programme in Rome live.
Those forums have meant a symbolic arm for those who are in the formation to be shepherds and strong and integral propellers in their communities and to the persons who, from generosity sustain them in this process.
This year´s edition had a special connotation because they were received for the first time by the Prelate of Opus Dei and the Grean Chancellor of University of Navarra Mr. Fernándo Oscáriz. Last year´s meeting was the last public act of the previous prelate, Javier Echevarría, just a few weeks before his death.
At the top of the great afability, Oscáriz thanked those who were present for supporting a transcendient labour and he indicated that “the shepherds with solid formation with yield more fruits in their respective local communities. This is very enriching for those who support as this makes us happy. If we only centred on ourselves, we would feel the contrary”, he said.
Within the activities of the anual meeting with sponsors, there was a chance to accompany 31 deacons in their ordination into priesthood. They were from 15 different countries.
“CARF seemed an utopia”
Luis Alberto Rosales, the general director of CARF and who also participated in this annaul pilgrimage explains how this initiative started.
“ Within a short period of his election as pope, Juan Pablo II encouraged the Opus Dei prelate, Alvaro del Portillo to promote a pontifical university in Rome. It looked utopia. This was because during many years, nothing of this kind was carried out. The successor of Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer wanted to accomplish the wish of Pope Wojtyla. This way, the pontifical university of Santa Croce was born. The effort was really great even among the students, priests and seminarians who came from all over world but could not pay their fee. Faced with this reality, 28 years ago, ways of sponsorships were commenced. This is how CARF was created. CARF also sponsor students who study at the university of Navarra”.
The labour and generosity of the benefactors speak for themselves. Last year 4.330.000 euros were raised which paid for 1170 students (931 from Europe, 466 from America, 156 from Asia, 152 from Africa and 12 from Oceania. So in the last 30 years approximately, thousands of priests, seminarians , religious and lay people have been sponsored. Some of them are now bishops.