St Josemaria and the Spanish civil war
whenever circumstances required it he didnâ€™t hesitate to tell people that he was a priest, so that he could give spiritual help to anyone who asked for it. He did so in full knowledge that he was risking his life, since he could be betrayed or denounced.
While in hiding at the Honduran Legation, he was able to preach and celebrate Mass for some of the other refugees. From the Legation he wrote letters to friends and acquaintances, using coded language to evade the censors. For example, his name for Jesus Christ was â€śDon Manuelâ€ť and his name for himself was â€śGrandfatherâ€ť.
In September 1937 he carried documents which afforded him relative freedom of movement in Madrid, though it was still very risky. He preached a spiritual retreat to a group of young men, clandestinely and taking all sorts of precautions. He attended some groups of women religious who had taken refuge in private houses, and administered the sacraments of reconciliation or anointing of the sick, pretending to be a doctor.
After his trek across the Pyrenees into the other zone of Spain the need for clandestinity was at an end. Father Josemaria stayed briefly in Pamplona, and then in Burgos for a year and three months, from January 1938 through March 1939, and from there he carried out intense pastoral work, travelling all over that zone of Spain to visit the people he knew, many of whom had been scattered to the various battlefronts.