When? November 7th 2010
Where? Various locations throughout the city. La Sagrada Familia in particular.
On November the 7th 2010, Barcelona will have the honour of welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the city. Following a visit to Santiago de Compostela on November 6th, the Pope will travel to the Catalonian capital to consecrate La Sagrada Familia due to its artistic uniqueness.
The Pontiff last visited Spain in 2006, although Barcelona was not included in the itinerary. Pope John Paul II, who also visited La Sagrada Familia and Montserrat Monestary , was therefore the last Holy Father to come to the city. It is thought that the Pope will return to Spain next year as part of the Catholic Church’s ‘World Youth Day’ celebrations.
Why Has the Pope Chosen La Sagrada Familia?
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia is one of the most impressive churches in the world and is famed for its beauty and stature, both inside and out, so it is only natural that the Pope should want to acknowledge the importance of the building. Under construction since 1882, the church attracts approximately 2.7 million visitors annually. The Pope’s keenness to consecrate La Sagrada Familia as a basilica is thought to increase visitors even further. Cardinal Martínez Sistach stated that the Pontiff ‘wanted, after blessing the Church of the Holy Family, to be close to those families that are suffering for one reason or another, and to meet with families that have sons and daughters with disabilities, and for those whom the Church of the Sagrada Familia could be an icon full of hope.’ Pope Benedict therefore recognises the importance of the Sagrada to both the local and wider communities . You can read more about this sacred destination.
The Pope’s Itinerary
On the evening of November 6th, the Pope is expected to arrive at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport at around 21.00. He will then spend the night at the cardinal’s residence. The next morning, at 9.15 on Sunday November 7th, Pope Benedict will journey through the city in his Popemobile from the archbishopric to La Sagrada Familia. The Popemobile will travel through the streets surrounding the church so that well-wishes can greet the Pontiff, so this is likely to be your best chance of seeing him. At 10.00, Mass will begin with sections in Catalan, Spanish and Latin. There is space for 10,000 people in the church, although only 7000 will be permitted. The congregation will include pastoral councils, priests, diocesan delegations, families, the sick and young believers. It is also expected that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will attend. Large screens and seating will be placed outside the church so up to 500,000 can also watch the service. However, you should be aware that there is not a lot of space surrounding the church so if you dislike large, busy crowds, this spot may be best avoided.
Can We Help?
If you would prefer to avoid the crowds but still experience this unique event, a great alternative is to rent an apartment just metres from the Sagrada Familia. This apartment provides an unobstructed view of the Pontiff’s visit from the comfort of your own balcony.
This brand-new, two-bedroom apartment is in the perfect location to catch a bird’s eye view of the Pope’s visit to Barcelona. An unbeatable place to escape the crowds, yet still experience the excitement of the Pontiff’s visit to Barcelona.
Later on in the afternoon, at 17.15, the Pope will visit the foundation of the Niño Dios where he will visit and pray with children suffering from disabilities. The Pope will then return to Barcelona airport at 18.00 for the official farewell ceremony. The Spanish Royal Family is also expected to attend. The Pope will then fly back to Rome at 21.15.
Map of Pope’s Route to the Sagrada Familia
Some Unusual Facts about Pope Benedict XVI
• The Pope Benedict has a pilot’s license for the papal helicopter and enjoys flying from Vatican to the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo.
• He has a German beer brew named after him called ‘Papstbier’ or ‘Pope Beer’.
•The Holy Father is fluent in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish and classical Latin, and knows some Portuguese.
• He enjoys music, especially that of Mozart and Bach, which he listens to daily. He also plays piano.
• The Pope has two cats, one of which is a stray he found in Rome.
• His old car was sold for 189,000 Euros on Ebay.
• Bavarian potato ravioli with pancake strips is his favourite dinner.
Address: Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Expiatory Church of the Holy Family)
C. Mallorca, 401 08013, Barcelona
Website: http://www.sagradafamilia.cat (in Spanish and English)
How to get here: Metro: or – Sagrada Familia stop.
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