Pope will visit Spain in November, consecrate Gaudi cathedral
March 03, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Spain in November, his chief spokesman has confirmed. The Holy Father will preside at the consecration of the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, and visit the shrine of Santiago de Compostela, a centuries-old pilgrimage site-- during his 2-day trip.
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that one purpose of the Pope's trip to Barcelona would be to "underline the dialogue between faith and art." The Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) cathedral is the unfinished masterpiece of the famous Catholic architect Antoni Gaudi, who died after being hit by a streetcar in 1926. The cathedral is one of Barcelona's leading tourist attractions.
The Pope will visit Barcelona on November 7. He will spend the previous day at Santiago de Compostela, the shrine where the remains of St. James the apostle are buried. For 1,000 years the shrine has been the goal of pilgrims who traditionally walk from points all across Europe. The shrine of Santiago de Compostela is celebrating a Jubilee Year in 2010, as it does in every year when the feast of St. James (July 25) falls on a Sunday.
The November visit will be the 3rd trip to Spain by Pope Benedict since his election. Father Lombardi said that the Pope will travel to Spain again in 2011, when Madrid will host the World Youth Day celebration. The Pope's multiple trips to the historically Catholic country are noteworthy in light of the severe tensions between the Catholic Church and the government of Prime Minister José Zapatero.