The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei (from the Latin "work of God") is a Catholic religious group that believes every member of their church has the potential to become a saint, and must perform God's work to reach such holiness. Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church that helps people seek holiness in their work and ordinary activities. Opus Dei stresses the importance of work and professional competence. It promotes the view that everyone is called to be live a life of holiness as commanded by the Holy Bible, "Be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48)
Opus Dei began its apostolic activities in the United States in Chicago in 1949. Opus Dei's United States headquarters are in Lexington Avenue, New York City. Today there are more than 3,000 members in the United States, often professionals or graduates of leading universities, and about 90,000 members in more than 80 different countries.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Josemaría Escrivá, who said:
Your work must become a personal prayer, must become a real conversation with Our Father in heaven.
Opus Dei is falsely portrayed in the The Da Vinci Code as an evil organization practicing brutal self-flagellation rituals. Some adherents of Opus Dei do practice a mild form of self-mortification, but Hollywood's distortions are typical for its negative portrayal of Christianity.
- WHAT IS OPUS DEI? Finding God in daily life.
- The Da Vinci Code, the Catholic Church and Opus Dei
- US Bishops' website on The Da Vinci Code