My friendship with Jerry, which I have been able to maintain thanks to emails and telephone messages, began some years back when an email sent to the web page of the Work was forwarded to me. In it, Jerry said that he wanted to renew his contact with Opus Dei, after having spent some years as a missionary in an African country.
At that time, Jerry and his wife were waiting to embark on a new mission to a country in the Middle East where there is no center of the Work.
Among other things, he made it clear that he was an Anglican missionary. I asked him how I could help him. He said he had gotten to known Opus Dei many years back in the United States, and that the teachings of Saint Josemaría had always been a great help for him. He also said he had devotion to Blessed Alvaro and tried to follow Saint Josemaría’s advice to fulfil a plan of life with regular practices of piety. I was quite surprised by all this.
Since then we have exchanged dozens of messages in which, among other things, we never fail to assure each other of our mutual prayers for our respective apostolic undertakings in the Middle East. (I live in Lebanon and, whenever the restrictions of the pandemic allow me, look after the Work’s apostolic activities in Dubai and Qatar.)
In our exchange of messages this year, I asked him how being a Cooperator of Opus Dei helped him as an Anglican minister. He replied with the following words (which I pass on with his permission):
I am an Anglican priest, diocesan canon, husband, father of three children, grandfather, and missionary in the Middle East.
We work principally with refugees who flee from ISIS in this region. It is a demanding job and a great challenge.
I give thanks to God for being a Cooperator of Opus Dei. The friendships, Christian formation and spiritual resources I receive are of great value for me, especially in the difficult circumstances in which I am trying to evangelize. It is vital for me to be connected with other people who pray and have faith in God. We all need a family.
Opus Dei helps me to strengthen my spiritual path, to stay connected with God and at the same time to keep my feet on the ground. It constantly encourages me to bear witness to the faith and to share it with others. The message of the universal call to sanctity has been a revolution for me and for those around me.