Pope Francis confirmed the election of Mgr Fernando Ocáriz Braña on Monday

Mgr Fernando Ocáriz Braña has been elected the new prelate of Opus Dei, with Pope Francis approving the election on Monday.

Mgr Ocáriz takes on the leadership of Opus Dei, a personal prelature that aims to  help ordinary people seek holiness in everyday life, following the death of the previous prelate, Mgr Javier Echevarría on December 12.

Since 1994 he has been the Vicar General of Opus Dei and in 2014 he was named Auxiliary Vicar of the Prelature. Over the past 22 years he accompanied Mgr Echevarría in his pastoral trips to more than 70 countries. In the 1960s, as a theology student, he lived in Rome alongside St Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei.

Mgr Ocáriz was born in Paris on October 27, 1944, to a Spanish family exiled to France during the Civil War (1936-1939).

He graduated from the University of Barcelona with a degree in physical sciences in 1966. He received a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1969 and a doctorate in theology from the University of Navarre in 1971, the year he was ordained a priest.

He has been a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1986 and has been a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy since 1989. In the 1980s, he was among the professors who began the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome).

In the upcoming days, the new prelate will propose the names of the vicars and other new members of Opus Dei councils who will assist him for the next eight years.