Pedro Ballester: 'An athlete along the track of love'

Source: Opus Dei

A large crowd joined Archbishop Arthur Roche and thirty concelebrating priests for the funeral of a young man who followed Christ heroically in a three-year battle with cancer.

"When Pedrito committed himself as a celibate lay member of Opus Dei, with that generosity which is so characteristic of youth, he could not have known how the Lord would call him to follow in His steps even to the sharing of His Cross and His Sacrifice for others." So preached Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to his parents Pedro and Esperanza, his two brothers, and a large congregation who had gathered for the funeral in Manchester on 23 January.

More than 500 people heard how Pedro Ballester, a young Englishman of Spanish parents, had bravely suffered three years of intense pain united to the Cross of Christ, before giving up his soul to God on 13th January, only 21 years old.

The Archbishop, who had got to know Pedro while Bishop of Leeds (when the Ballester family lived in Yorkshire), came from Rome to be the principal celebrant at the Mass. He praised Pedro's parents for "cooperating with God in giving him to us, in forming him as such a fine Christian and human being - the best! - a great man although so young. And for your generosity in giving him back to God, even though you miss him enormously."

Preaching in the Holy Name church in the heart of the Manchester university campus, Archbishop Roche described how Pedro's faith helped him find happiness in his illness and how, even when in intense pain, he was constantly and generously interested in others. An example of this, the archbishop said, was the way Pedro "moved quickly away from any enquiry as to how he was to 'how are you?'"

"Although immobilised through illness," Roche said, Pedro "ran like an athlete along the track of love" and "gave his life willingly to God". Despite Pedro's young age, the archbishop concluded, he has become both "father in the faith and a brother along the way of the journey to many. And he will I believe be the source of many gifts for many others who yet remain to know him."

Read the full homily here:

Fr Joseph Evans, chaplain of Greygarth Hall in Manchester has written the following tribute:

Tags: Opus Dei, Pedro Ballester, Archbishop Arthur Roche,

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