The following is an interview with Peter Stocker, one of the first men in Western Canada to discover his vocation to Opus Dei.
How did you come into contact with Opus Dei?
In 1989 I was a fairly new convert to the Catholic Church and was researching the faith in a Catholic bookstore. I just happened to open a book titled In Conversation with God and found a card that had been left there for anyone who was interested in information about Opus Dei. I phoned the number on the card and met Marvi Naval, the first Philippino male supernumerary to come to Vancouver. I soon started attending Recollections with my friend Steve Pearse and shortly after that discovered my vocation as a supernumerary member of Opus Dei.
What appealed to you about Opus Dei?
I was immediately impressed that here was a group of men who had committed themselves to a structured life of pious practices such as daily Mass and prayer as well as weekly confession, and at the same time were regular guys living in the world. I found new friends, and was impressed by the happiness and joy of all these men. I loved how the knowledge of the faith could be applied to me and to my life.
What is the most important thing you have got out of your vocation to Opus Dei?
The biggest thing is that I know and experience that God is my Father. He is there in the midst of suffering and joy, in all the ordinary circumstances of my life. The Work gives me the means to live the presence of God, always a challenging and joyful undertaking.
What value do you think Copper Ridge Conference Centre will have for the Work in Western Canada?
I know that having a conference centre will intensify the value that the Work has already had for those associated with it here. Having members of the Work running our own facility will enable us to create the unique family atmosphere which is characteristic of Opus Dei. This is impossible in facilities that are operated by other organizations, even if they are very well run. People will have the experience of how transformative even one retreat at their own conference centre is. Over the years, we, our children and our grandchildren will be able to benefit from many activities in addition to retreats such as service projects, parenting classes and professional ethics seminars.
Any other things you would like to say about the formation provided by Opus Dei, the spirit of Opus Dei, etc.
The Work offers the means to live the presence of God in one’s life. One has the experience of a tremendous growth of freedom and of new horizons that are opened by the spiritual direction that Opus Dei provides.