Monday 9 August 2021

The Cremades Plans - Javier Cremades Sanz-Pastor - A Family's Friendship with Saint Josemaria

The Cremades Plans: 
A Family's Friendship with Saint Josemaria
ISBN 9781008994324

This book was recommended on one of the newsletters I read. I had never head of the book or the author prior to that. And I believe this is the only book that Father Javier has published. It is available in Spanish as Los planes de los Cremades: Una familia amiga de san Josemaría and in English as The Cremades Plans: 
A Family's Friendship with Saint Josemaria. The description of the book is:

“My father, Juan Antonio Cremades, first met Saint Josemaria Escrivá when they were fellow-students in the Department of Law at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, from 1925 to 1927. It was there that they made friends. Years later, at a very painful time for the founder of the Opus Dei, when his mother had just died, my father was able to do him a service for which Saint Josemaria was very grateful ever after. And for that reason, the large Cremades family – my parents and all of us ten siblings – enjoyed a very close, direct friendship with him until he went to Heaven. In this book I have collected some of the adventures – really big adventures! – that we had with our father and friend, Saint Josemaria. I have tried to highlight his kindness, the affection and friendly warmth that he scattered (especially on my lucky family), his sanctity, his joy and sense of humor. Also, his closeness to God, and the way he was able to bring all those who crossed his path closer to God.”

And it was an absolutely fascinating read. I have known many great priests, but cannot imagine having a priest as a family friend while growing up who is now canonized. A family friend who had deep affection for your parents and for your entire family. But that is the store we encounter in the vibrant, entertaining, and often humorous biography. This story was a wonderful read.

The family, their faith, their friendship with Saint Josemaria Escriva. Wow! It is wo well written. The sections in this book are:

Death of Doña Dolores 
The reason for this book 
Students at the university 
The Father enters our family  
     We meet for the first time 
     A chase straight from a film 
The First Communion of my youngest siblings  
     My parents’ legacy 
Silver Wedding Anniversary in Rome  
     My eldest sister and I 
     We made a start 
     Mass and breakfast at Villa Tevere 
     Toccata and fugue 
     Saint Paul VI meets our family 
     The wheels of justice turn slowly, but surely 
     Afternoon snack at Villa Sacchetti 
     Enjoying Rome, and farewell 
On our return, the great decision  
     The day after 
     Six months later 
     Seven years after my failed escape attempt 
     And my sister, the one with the boyfriend…? 
     And the rest of the gang…? 
Absolutely free 
Jewels for a monstrance 
The mother of the sons of Zebedee, twentieth-century version 
Another even bigger plan  
     The issue of the photographer keeps rumbling on 
From Salamanca to the Eternal City  
     Like sardines in a can 
     It is very hard to be the Father. His love for the Pope 
     Entertaining the Father 
The Father comes to dinner  
     A big announcement and general mobilization 
     The Father’s arrival at our house 
     In the dining room 
     An after-dinner chat 
     With Our Lady, after the Father 
     Some interesting comments 
«Operazione Cremates»  
     Hippies at the airport 
     Spending time with the Father 
More and more grateful to God 
The two young pigeons 
The Brafa film 
A priest in the family  
     Consommé with a cassock 
     Thirty years getting a present ready 
     Everything is ready… and the great day arrives 
A saint at my feet 
Another boiling consommé 
Goodbye kisses, before going to Heaven 
The engineer is ordained a priest 
A Tale Without End 
The author

The beginning of the introduction states:

“My name is Javier and I was born in Zaragoza, Spain, at the end of the first half of the twentieth century, in 1946. I am now enjoying my senior years. I have always considered myself honored to have been baptized, a week after I was born, in the basilica of Our Lady of Pilar. I am the fourth of ten siblings, five boys and five girls, the children of a wonderful couple: Pilar and Juan Antonio Cremades. 

Both of my parents came from deeply Christian families and tried to be strong in their faith and their love for Jesus Christ and the Church for the whole of their lives. They were, and are – because now, from Heaven, they still keep helping us – the makers and the strength of this happy, funny family.”

And in the chapter on ‘The Reason For This Book’  he states:

“In everyday life, the Father was very, very grateful. Those who lived with him confirm this. He said graphically that if Saint Teresa of Avila – as she said of herself – could be won over with a sardine, I can be won over with a sardine-bone! In our frequent meetings with him, he regularly recalled what had happened in Lerida, and his gratitude to my father extended to my mother and each of their ten children too.”

This book in many ways read like a gratitude journal. With stories of gratitude from Joesemaria Escriva, from the author, and from his whole family. The book also contains many photos and replicas of letters and documents. As mentioned it is entertaining. The author is often self-deprecating, not holding back from telling stories that put him in a bad light. 

This is an easy book to pick up and read. But it will be hard to put down. It is amazing to read about this family, their faith, and their interactions with Saint Josemaria. A wonderful read that I highly recommend. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

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