Benedict XVI to Visit Spain in November

Stops Planned in Santiago and Barcelona

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SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, MARCH 3, 2010 ( Benedict XVI will visit Santiago de Compostela this Nov. 6 for the Jacobeo Holy Year, and go to Barcelona the next day to consecrate that city’s church of the Sagrada Familia.

This was announced today by the archbishops of the two cities, Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach of Barcelona and Archbishop Julián Barrio of Santiago.

Archbishop Barrio said the Holy Father had expressed his desire to go to Santiago as a “pilgrim of faith.” The prelate was at the Vatican on Monday to invite the Holy Father to his country.

The Apostle James the Greater (in Spanish, Santiago) is the patron of Spain. Tradition holds that he evangelized Spain, and his tomb is located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which is the destination of the historic and popular pilgrimage route El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James).

The apostle’s feastday is July 25, and a holy year is celebrated each year that the feast falls on a Sunday, which happens 14 times every century.

This year’s celebration, which began Dec. 31 and will last through to the end of 2010, will be the second “Jacobeo” Holy Year of the third millennium.

Regarding the stop in Barcelona, Cardinal Martínez Sistach already last month said the Holy Father had expressed interest in consecrating the church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family).

The cardinal noted that the church’s architect, Antoni Gaudí, has a cause of canonization being studied.

The church is also important to the Holy Father, according to the cardinal, because of its title, “given the maximum importance that the family has for the Holy Father, since the good of people, society and the Church is directly related with the protection, defense and promotion of the family.”

The November trip will be Benedict XVI’s second to Spain, after the 2006 World Meeting of Families he attended in Valencia.

He is scheduled to visit Spain for a third time in August 2011 for World Youth Day in Madrid.

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