Our Lady of Peace: The Prelatic Church of Opus Dei
On May 2, the Prelature of Opus Dei celebrates the anniversary of the dedication of the Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace.
Built in the 1950’s, the church was originally a chapel for the headquarters of Opus Dei in Rome, Italy. On December 31, 1959, St. Josemaria celebrated the first Mass in the chapel, which he dedicated to Our Lady of Peace. He chose the title because, as he explained, “Holy Mary is the Queen of peace, and thus the Church invokes her. So when your soul or your family are troubled, or things go wrong at work, in society or between nations, cry out to her without ceasing. Call to her by this title: ‘Regina pacis, ora pro nobis — Queen of peace, pray for us.’ Have you at least tried it when you have lost your calm? You will be surprised at its immediate effect.”
After Opus Dei was established as a personal prelature in 1982, Our Lady of Peace became the church of the Prelature.
The architecture and artistic decoration of the church is inspired by the early Christian churches of Rome with a rectangular nave, columns, mosaics, and crypt reminiscent of the ancient catacombs. The painting of Our Lady of Peace, by the Spanish artist Manolo Caballero, presides over the sanctuary of the church. The main altar is located under a baldachin or canopy, as is the custom in many Roman churches.
The main altar of the church is also where the tomb of St. Josemaria Escriva is located today.
Since St. Josemaria’s death in 1975, his tomb has rested in Our Lady of Peace where thousands of pilgrims visit his tomb each year to continue their petition or give thanks for graces received through his intercession.
Blessed Alvaro del Portillo (1914-1994) and Bishop Javier Echevarria (1932-2016), the first two successors of St. Josemaria at the head of Opus Dei, are also buried in the church.
The Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace is open every day and welcomes pilgrims and visitors to come and pray before the tomb of St. Josemaria. All visitors are also welcome to attend daily Mass and confession, which is available in various languages.
To learn more about the prelatic church and to plan your visit, we recommend: