Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia finally becomes a church

November 6, 2010


(Photo: The Sagrada Familia church, with chairs outside for the consecration Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict on Saturday, 5 Nov 2010/Albert Gea)

For decades tourists have visited the twisting spires of Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia church, but 128 years after construction began Catholic faithful will worship there for the first time on Sunday.

Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass to give his official blessing to the church designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, whose sculptural masterpieces dot the city in the region of Catalonia.

The pope consecrates Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) during a visit to northern Spain where on Saturday he joins pilgrims at the shrine to St. James, Spain’s patron saint, in Santiago de Compostela.

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(Photo: The Sagrada Familia church, 4 Nov 2010/Albert Gea)

While work is not scheduled to finish for many more years on the intricate and colorful Sagrada Familia, enough has been done to welcome the pontiff, including installing last minute stained-glass windows.

Jordi Bonet Armengol, chief architect of the cathedral and seventh successor to Gaudi, hopes the pope’s visit will provide the boost needed to finish the work.

Under instructions from Gaudi, who died in 1926, construction is funded by private donations and visitors’ fees.

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(Photo: The Sagrada Familia church, 4 Nov 2010/Albert Gea)

Protests ranging from gays who are against the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality, to residents complaining about the disruption and cost of the event are expected to greet the pope when he steps out of Gaudi’s masterpiece on Sunday.

But devout Catholics said they were excited about the consecration.

“There are all kinds of protests but we live in a democracy and should let believers enjoy this,” said Petita Martin, 68, who was disappointed she would not be able to attend the Mass, but planned to greet the pope along the route of his procession on Sunday. “Sagrada Familia is a jewel and great propaganda for Barcelona,” she said.

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(Photo: A bus with a protest sign against Pope Benedict’s visit in front of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, 3  Nov 2010.  The sign reads: “More than half of young Catalans are not believers. And you? In defence of secularism! I’m not waiting for you!”/Albert Gea)

Read the full story by Nigel Davies here.

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One comment

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Protesters… yawn. Had to put them into the article, didn’t ya? How many protesters were there? Something like three of them, or maybe four.

If it was a mosque, you would have called it “The most holy islamic site in Barcelona” or some such thing. And not a protester would be in site.

Tim Hollingworth
Acworth, Ga, USA

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