On Thursday May 22, 2014 Cardinal Seán O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, presided over the closing session of the diocesan phase of the cause of canonization for Father Joseph Muzquiz. The session took place at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center.

At the session's conclusion, the boxes containing the evidence gathered through the diocesan investigation, including declarations from witnesses and other documents, were sent under seal to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This ends the local stage in Father Joseph’s cause of canonization and the process now moves to Rome.

Soon after his cause was opened in June 2011, Cardinal O’Malley said: “We are blessed that the cause of sainthood for Father Joseph Muzquiz, the priest who brought Opus Dei to the United States, is taking place here in the Archdiocese of Boston. We need to hear more about priests, religious and lay people who faithfully lived their vocation to holiness in contemporary times. Father Muzquiz showed us that the virtue of everyday heroism can be achieved by all people of good faith who open their heart and soul to the gift of God’s graces.”

For a transcript of Cardinal O'Malley's remarks, click here.

Here are news reports that appeared in the Boston archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, and the news agency, Rome Reports.

The opening session of the cause of canonization of Father Joseph Muzquiz took place on June 2, 2011, in the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston. Very Rev. Bryan K. Parrish, acting as the representative for Cardinal Sean O’Malley, presided over the ceremony.

 Cardinal O’Malley wrote about the opening of the cause the following week in his blog, noting that Father Joseph had been a close collaborator with the founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaría Escrivá, and was instrumental in bringing Opus Dei to the United States and other countries. “We pray that the inspiration of his life and holiness will have an impact on the lives of people here in Boston who knew of him and were beneficiaries of his ministry,” the Cardinal wrote. “We look forward to hearing more about the process as it moves forward.”

During the opening session, the postulator of the cause, Father David Cavanagh, said that Father Joseph had died with a widespread reputation of holiness among those who knew him. “Father Joseph was known for his gentle and patient manner as well as for his serene and undaunted cheerfulness,” Father Cavanagh said. “Is the Servant of God Joseph Muzquiz one of those persons who has lived the virtues to a heroic degree? Today marks the first official step in this long process which will, without doubt, give the response to this question.”

As part of the opening session, the materials gathered so far—including Father Joseph’s writings—were entered into the record. Officials of the inquiry took their oath of office.   Now that the cause has been opened, the tribunal will question witnesses about the life and virtues of Father Joseph.

The Boston diocesan newspaper The Pilot estimated that about 150 people attended the session, including many who knew Father Joseph. Among those present were John Coverdale (author of a biography about Father Joseph, Putting Down Roots) and Monsignor Thomas G. Bohlin, the U.S. Vicar for Opus Dei.