Dear Akaza Blog Readers,
As you maybe already know on November 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. Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona is expecting nearly half a million people. 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.
If you are interested in seeing Pope Benedict XVI, have a look at his schedule:
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. This is likely to be your best chances 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, but for security reasons only 6,500 people will be allowed to inside the church.
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 as well as 30,000 chairs will be set up outside the church to watch the ceremony. 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.
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.
For security reasons, the Sagrada Familia`s doors will be closed a few days prior to the Pope’s visit.