BARCELONA, Spain, JULY 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In addition to blessing the Church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Benedict XVI will proclaim Antoni Gaudi’s church a basilica.
Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, revealed this today at a press conference held at midday with some 100 journalists in the Gaudi Room of Barcelona’s diocesan museum.
The cardinal explained numerous details of the Pope’s November visit to Barcelona, where, in addition to consecrating the church dedicated to the Holy Family, he will visit the school for the disabled of the diocesan foundation Niño Dios.
The apostolic visit to Spain will begin on Saturday, Nov. 6, with the Pontiff’s arrival in Santiago de Compostela for the Jacobeo Holy Year, according to the program approved by the Vatican.
There is a jubilee year in celebration of the apostle — known as a Jacobeo year — every time his July 25 feast day falls on a Sunday.
Benedict XVI will go to the Cathedral of Santiago, where he will preside over a prayer and contemplate the botafumeiro, a famous incense burner found in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Then he will preside over a Mass in the adjacent Obradoiro Square.
He is scheduled to arrive at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport at 9 p.m., where he will be welcomed by a delegation that might include Felipe, the Prince of Asturias.
Benedict XVI will spend the night at the Archbishopric of Barcelona, where he is scheduled to arrive at 9:45 pm.
The following morning, Sunday, Nov. 7, the Bishop of Rome will travel in the popemobile from the archbishopric to the Church of the Sagrada Familia.
Before entering the church, the popemobile will pass through the surrounding streets so that those gathered around the church will have a chance to greet the Pontiff. Cardinal Martínez Sistach said that as many as 500,000 are expected at the church.
Benedict XVI will enter the church through the southern door on Mallorca street, and he will be vested in the sacristy and carry out the rite of solemn opening the bronze doors of the Portico of Glory.
Then the Mass will begin with a procession of the Pope, cardinals and bishops to the presbytery.
During the Mass, the rite of dedication of the altar will be held. Then the Litany of the Saints will be recited and the prayer of consecration of the church to God.
Afterward, the unction of the altar and walls of the church with holy oil will take place, followed by the incensing of the altar and of the whole church, which will then be illuminated.
At the end of the Mass, the Pope will go out to the Portico of the Nativity to greet the faithful and pray the midday Angelus, from the same place where John Paul II was positioned during his visit to Barcelona in 1982.
After the Marian prayer and his address and greetings to pilgrims, the Holy Father will enter the church again and go in procession to the end of the church, where there will be a commemorative inscription of the dedication of the church.
Benedict XVI will return to the archbishopric in the popemobile and dine with bishops and his entourage at 1 p.m.
At 5:15 pm, the Pope will visit the foundation of the Niño Dios — dedicated to persons with Down syndrome and other disabilities and their families — a diocesan foundation entrusted to the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
At its headquarters in the neighborhood of Guinardo, he will pray and converse with students, who are preparing a gift for him, and with their families; he will also bless the first stone of its new residence.
According to Cardinal Martínez Sistach, Benedict XVI “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. It’s a showing of the sensitivity of the Holy Father — and of the entire Church — toward those most in need.”
The Pontiff will arrive at the Barcelona airport at 6:30 p.m. for the official farewell ceremony, where the monarchs of Spain are expected to be present. At 9:15 p.m. the Holy Father is scheduled to leave by plane for Rome.