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.