08 November 2010

Pope Benedict consecrates Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona


THE POPE CONSECRATES THE CHURCH OF THE SAGRADA FAMILIA


VATICAN CITY, 7 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At 9 a .m. today the Pope travelled by popemobile from the archbishopric of Barcelona to the church of the Sagrada Familia, masterpiece of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.


Work on the building, which began in the year 1882, continues today thanks to donations from all over the world and is scheduled to come to an end in 2026. The final project is due to comprehend eighteen spires, twelve dedicated to the Apostles, four to the Evangelists, one to Jesus - at 170 metres the highest of all - and one to the Virgin Mary.


Before Mass, the Holy Father travelled around the outside of the church where thousands of people were gathered to greet him.



Benedict XVI entered the building by a secondary entrance where he was welcomed by the president of the Sagrada Familia foundation and by Jordi Bonet, head of the building project. He then went on to meet with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain in the Museum Hall of the Sagrada Familia.

After his meeting with the monarchs, the Pope went to the sacristy to prepare for the celebration of Mass during which he consecrated the church and the altar of the Sagrada Familia.

Beginning his homily the Pope spoke in Catalan, greeting the King and Queen, and Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona , and the other cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay people present.

Going on then to highlight how this day "marks an important step in a long history of hope, work and generosity that has gone on for more than a century", the Holy Father made special mention of the people whose efforts made it possible to build the church, especially "the man who was the soul and the artisan of this project, Antoni Gaudi, a creative architect and a practising Christian who kept the torch of his faith alight to the end of his life, a life lived in dignity and absolute austerity. This event is also in a certain sense the high point of the history of this land of Catalonia which, especially since the end of the nineteenth century, has given an abundance of saints and founders, martyrs and Christian poets. It is a history of holiness, artistic and poetic creation, born of the faith, which we gather and present to God today as an offering in this Eucharist".

Benedict XVI expressed his joy at the fact that "this shrine, since its beginnings, has had a special relationship with St. Joseph . I have been moved above all by Gaudi's confidence when, in the face of many difficulties, filled with trust in divine Providence , he would exclaim, ' St. Joseph will finish this church'. So it is significant that it is also being dedicated by a Pope whose baptismal name is Joseph".

Meeting King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain


This work of art "stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One Who is Light, Height and Beauty itself. In this place, Gaudi desired to unify that inspiration which came to him from the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of Sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy. In this way he brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy. He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God, but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"In this way, he brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ. In this he accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty. Antoni Gaudi did this not with words but with stones, lines, planes, and points. Indeed, beauty is one of mankind's greatest needs; it is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth. Beauty also reveals God because, like Him, a work of beauty is pure gratuity; it calls us to freedom and draws us away from selfishness".


The Church of herself is nothing; she is called to be the sign and instrument of Christ, in pure docility to His authority and in total service to His mandate. The one Christ is the foundation of the one Church. He is the rock on which our faith is built. Building on this faith, let us strive together to show the world the face of God Who is love and the only one who can respond to our yearning for fulfilment. This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord.

King Juan Carlos with Pope Benedict after the Mass


"In this sense", the Pope added, "I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him. In this masterpiece, Gaudi shows us that God is the true measure of man; that the secret of authentic originality consists, as he himself said, in returning to one's origin which is God. Gaudi, by opening his spirit to God, was capable of creating in this city a space of beauty, faith and hope which leads man to an encounter with Him Who is truth and beauty itself. The architect expressed his sentiments in the following words: 'A church [is] the only thing worthy of representing the soul of a people, for religion is the most elevated reality in man'".
The Holy Father recalled then how "this church began as an initiative of the Association of the Friends of St. Joseph, who wanted to dedicate it to the Holy Family of Nazareth. The home formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph has always been regarded as a school of love, prayer and work. The promoters of this church wanted to set before the world love, work and service lived in the presence of God, as the Holy Family lived them. Life has changed greatly and with it enormous progress has been made in the technical, social and cultural spheres. We cannot simply remain content with these advances. Alongside them, there also need to be moral advances, such as in care, protection and assistance to families, inasmuch as the generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end.

"Only where love and faithfulness are present can true freedom be born and endure. For this reason the Church advocates adequate economic and social means so that women may find in the home and at work their full development, that men and women who contract marriage and form a family receive decisive support from the state, that life of children may be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception, that the reality of birth be given due respect and receive juridical, social and legislative support. For this reason the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family", said the Pope.

Benedict XVI asked God "that in the land of Catalonia new witnesses of holiness may rise up and flourish, and present to the world the great service that the Church can and must offer to humanity: to be an icon of divine beauty, a burning flame of charity, a path so that the world may believe in the One Whom God has sent".

"I implore the Lord of our lives that, from this altar, which will now be anointed with holy oil and upon which the sacrifice of the love of Christ will be consumed, there may be a flood of grace and charity upon the city of Barcelona and its people, and upon the whole world. May these fruitful waters fill with faith and apostolic vitality this archdiocesan Church, its pastors and its faithful".


The Pope concluded his homily in Catalan, saying "I wish to commend to the loving protection of the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, April Rose, Mother of Mercy, all who enter here and all who in word or deed, in silence and prayer, have made this possible this marvel of architecture. May Our Lady present to her divine Son the joys and tribulations of all who come in the future to this sacred place so that here, as the Church prays when dedicating religious buildings, the poor may find mercy, the oppressed true freedom and all men may take on the dignity of the children of God. Amen".

At the end of Mass Cardinal Sistach read out the decree by which the Pope declares the church of the Sagrada Familia to be a minor basilica.

Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father left the building by the Portico of the Nativity and appeared on the terrace overlooking the square and adjoining street where thousands of faithful had followed the Mass on giant screens.

Queen Sophia and King Juan Carlos


Before praying the Angelus , the Pope recalled how in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre yesterday the beatification had taken place of Servant of God Maria Barbara of the Blessed Trinity, foundress of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. "May the deep faith and fervent charity with which she followed Christ", he said, "awaken in many the desire to devote their lives completely to the greater glory of God and the generous service of their brothers and sisters, especially the poorest and the most needy".
Referring then to the architect Antoni Gaudi, the Holy Father highlighted how, "through his work, he sought to bring the Gospel to everyone. For this reason, he conceived of the three porticos of the exterior of the church as a catechesis on the life of Jesus Christ, as a great Rosary, which is the prayer of ordinary people, a prayer in which are contemplated the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of our Lord. In collaboration with the parish priest Gil Pares, he also designed and financed from his own savings the creation of a school for the children of the workers and of the poorest families of the neighbourhood, which was at that time a outlying suburb of Barcelona . He brought concrete reality to the conviction, saying: 'The poor must always find a welcome in the Church, which is an expression of Christian charity'".


The Pope then travelled to the archbishopric of Barcelona , where he had lunch.


PV-SPAIN/ VIS 20101107 (1870)

Report: Vatican Information Service. Photos: La Vanguardia

2 comments:

Junio Quesadas said...

Hello Fr. Sean,

I am Mr. Junos Llanto from Camiguin Island, Mindanao, Phils. and it just so happened that I've stumbled on your blogs.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask a few questions if it won't bother you.

Our school, Columbia St. Michael's Parish High School was founded by one of your Columban Fathers, I really hope you personally know Rev. Fr. Patrick Cashman.

He founded our school on April of 1954. It was in the year 1976 that the school was relegated to the Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM). Until now, the said sisters are running the school.

What I would like to ask is that, how come the Columban Fathers passed on our school to the RSM? Will our school still see some Columban Father Missionaries like Fr. Cashman?

I would like to request further Fr. Sean that if you personally know Fr. Cashman, we would be very glad if you write a blog post about him.

Thank you so much.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Thank you for your post. It is always encouraging to hear from former parishioners of Columbans.

Yes,I knew Father Cashman. He was based in St columban's, ozamiz, when I arrived in the Philippines in october 1971. I also spent my first Christmas in the Philippines in Mambajao where Fr Martin Ryan was parish priest and my late classmate, Fr Desmond Hartford, the assistant. The late Fr Thomas Brennan was parish priest in Mahinog at that time.

The Columbans built high schools in many parishes throughout the Philippines but we never saw them as 'ours' but rather as parochial schools. In some cases we passed on schools to religious congregations such as the RSM (Religious Sisters of Mercy) in Mahinog. I'm not certain of the history of Fatima College in Mambajao, also run by the RSM. In other cases when we handed over a parish to the local clergy the parish priest became the director. Arrangements such as these are always done through the bishop. I don't know the particular circumstances of the handover of St Michael's to the RSM.

The Mercy Sisters in Mambajao and Mahinog have their headquarters in Tacloban City where they came from St Mary's of the Isle, Cork, Ireland. Later, Mercy Sisters came from Buffalo, New York, to Lanao del Norte, at the invitation of Columban Fr Edmond Bahl. Both groups of Mercy Sisters have been in the Philippines for more than 50years and all the Sisters here are now Filipinos.

Father Cashman, from Bayonne, New Jersey, was ordained in December 1942 and Father Bahl, from Buffalo, New York, a year later.

I'll see if I can write a post on Father Cashman and maybe posts on other Columbans both here and on www.misyononline.com/misyonforum

Thank you again for your questions and suggestion. God bless you.