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short for The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, a Roman Catholic organization composed of a prelate, secular clergy and lay people whose mission is to spread the Catholic teaching that everyone is called to become a saint; its lay members, men and women, engage in the affairs of the world and seek to direct them "according to God's will".
Opus Dei, formally known as The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. The majority of its membership are lay people, with secular priests under the governance of a prelate elected by specific members and appointed by the Pope. Opus Dei is Latin for Work of God; hence the organization is often referred to by members and supporters as the Work. Founded in Spain in 1928 by the Catholic priest St. Josemaría Escrivá, Opus Dei was given final Catholic Church approval in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. In 1982, by decision of Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church made it into a personal prelature—that is, the jurisdiction of its own bishop covers the persons in Opus Dei wherever they are, rather than geographical dioceses. As of 2010, members of the Prelature numbered 90,260. Lay persons, men and women, numbered 88,245, while there were 2,015 priests. These figures do not include the diocesan priest members of Opus Dei's Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, estimated to number 2000 in the year 2005. Members are in more than 90 countries. About 70% of Opus Dei members live in their private homes, leading traditional Catholic family lives with secular careers, while the other 30% are celibate, of whom the majority live in Opus Dei centres. Opus Dei organizes training in Catholic spirituality applied to daily life. Aside from personal charity and social work, Opus Dei members are involved in running universities, university residences, schools, publishing houses, and technical and agricultural training centers.
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