Pope to make 2-day trip to Spain in November, will inaugurate Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pope to visit Spain in November

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI will make a two-day visit to Spain in November, with a stop in Barcelona to consecrate the famed Sagrada Familia church, the Vatican’s spokesman said Wednesday.

The pope will first go to the western pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela on Nov. 6, the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters. The visit is part of celebrations held whenever the Feast Day of St. James — July 25 — falls on a Sunday, as it does this year.

Hundreds of thousands of people from across the world make the Camino de Santiago (Road to Santiago) pilgrimage annually and more during the year honoring James.

On Nov. 7, the pope will visit the Mediterranean port city of Barcelona to consecrate La Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona landmark, whose construction began in 1882 and is still continuing. The church is designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, who died in 1926.

Pope John Paul II was the last pontiff to visit Barcelona, in 1982.

Benedict came to Spain in 2006, a year after he was elected pontiff, for a church meeting on families in Valencia. He is also expected back in Spain in 2011 to celebrate the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day.

It was not immediately known if the pope will meet with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez, whose government has introduced many social reforms — such as legalizing gay marriage and easing restrictions on abortion — that have angered the church. The two met briefly during the 2006 visit.

Benedict, who turns 83 next month, also plans trips this year to Malta, Portugal, Cyprus and Britain.

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