Barcelona Cardinal on 1st Anniversary of Pope's Visit

«It Was a Genuine Gift From God»

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BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 4, 2011 ( Here is a translation of a reflection by Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, on the one-year anniversary of Benedict XVI’s trip to his city.

The cardinal also reflected on the gift of the priesthood as he marked his 50th anniversary of ordination.

The basilica dedicated by the Holy Father has enjoyed a notable increase of visitors since the Pope’s trip. It is expected that by December, the number of visitors will reach 3.2 million for this year. 

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The city of Barcelona rejoiced over the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 6-7, 2010, to dedicate the basilica of the Holy Family and to visit the diocesan social-charitable work of Nen Deu. It was a genuine gift from God. The Pope visited our diocesan Church and manifested his affection and pastoral solicitude. At the foot of the plane that would take him back to Rome he told me he was taking with him the unforgettable memory of this visit. We also cherish the great memory of it.

These days mark the first anniversary of those events. The liturgy of the Church marks the dedication of a church by celebrating the anniversary of its dedication. The archdiocese will do so today to thank God for the apostolic visit of our esteemed Holy Father, to renew our sentiments of communion and affection for him, and to recall and to put into practice the messages he left us during his stay among us.

This celebration is also an occasion to thank God for the gift of the ministerial priesthood left by Jesus Christ to his Church. Every priestly ordination is a very good occasion to be thankful for this gift of the Lord; it was last Oct. 23 when, in the very basilica of the Holy Family, I had the joy of ordaining six new presbyters.

In today’s celebration we will recall especially an ordination that took place 50 years ago now, in the parish church of Santa Maria de Cornella. Archbishop Gregorio Modrego Casaus, imposed his apostle’s hands on 36 deacons of Barcelona, among whom was he who at present has been entrusted with the mission to serve as archbishop of the Catholic community of Barcelona.

Fifty years have gone by during which we have made every effort to serve the Church in the place and in the ministries that have outlined the personal path of each one of those new presbyters ordained by the beloved doctor Modrego. We accepted the Lord’s call and have made every effort to be faithful to him. Day after day we have repeated with more mature joy that initial yes to Jesus Christ. Because day after day we have heard the echo of that same call in the Word, in the Church, and in the world.

On celebrating our golden anniversary of priesthood, we are concerned that in the future, presbyters will be lacking in our Christian communities. Because of this, today’s celebration has the clear intention of inviting youths who might feel themselves called to the priesthood to give their yes to the Lord. Hence, today’s celebration will unite the memory of the visit and dedication by the Pope of the new basilica with thanksgiving for the gift of the priesthood and prayer for priestly vocations. And it will also include a sign of solidarity with persons suffering from the consequences of the present crisis. I thank the persons who support us with their affection and prayer. And I also thank them for the contributions they make to the project destined for youths without work, which our diocesan Caritas will manage.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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