Bishop del Portillo was ordained to the priesthood in 1944. He helped Opus Dei expand in 20 countries, including Italy. He was an active participant at the Second Vatican Council and was a consultor at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was elected to succeed St Josemaria Escriva as the head of Opus Dei in 1975.
When Pope John Paul II made Opus Dei a personal prelature in 1982, he named Bishop del Portillo as head of the unique church structure. He was consecrated a bishop in December 1990.
Monsignor Flavio Capucci, the postulator for Bishop del Portillo's cause of canonization, said that the Holy See must now set a date for the beatification ceremony. The ceremony will likely take place in Rome, where the bishop died in 1994.
Msgr. Capucci said that he has received almost 12,000 signed reports from Catholics who believe they have received favors through Bishop del Portillo's intercession.
Some extraordinary cures include the disappearance of metastasized melanomas and the full recovery of a child drowned in a swimming pool. Many favors concern family life, including the reconciliation of married couples, the conception of children after a period of infertility, and the birth of healthy children whom doctors believed to be sick or malformed.
"Bishop Alvaro was a family person, who carried out a wide and deep catechesis on the family. It is perhaps because of this that the desire to go to his intercession for these kinds of matters arises spontaneously," Msgr. Capucci said.
Fr. McCloskey said he met Bishop del Portillo several times during his studies in Rome. It was the bishop who selected him to become a priest for Opus Dei.
The beatification will encourage Opus Dei members to imitate the bishop's fidelity to the spirit of St. Josemaria Escriva, who was canonized in 2002, Fr. McCloskey said.
He added that the beatification will also have a lesson for all Catholics: "We all can be saints!"