Benedict consecrates Sagrada Familia as a Basilica

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
8 Nov 2010

Thousands of people thronged the streets of Barcelona to greet the Pope as he traveled to the Sagrada Familia. On his second day in Spain and before consecrating the church of the Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudí as a minor basilica, Benedict XVI met briefly with the king and queen of Spain in a private meeting.

Inside the basilica more than 6,500 people are expected, along with 1,100 celebrants among the cardinals, bishops and priests. In the streets near the Sagrada Familia, 36 giant screens were installed for the more than 100,000 people expected to watch the Mass and the consecration of the church.

The Pope began his homily with a word of thanks in Catalan.  He described the consecration of the  Sagrada Familia as a "significant point in a long history of enthusiasm, work and generosity, which lasted more than a century."

The Pope also commented on his personal joy to enshrine the Sagrada Familia, a church very close to the figure of St. Joseph.

Benedict XVI
"I have been moved above all by Gaudí's confidence when, in the face of many difficulties, filled with trust in Divine Providence, he would exclaim, "Saint Joseph will finish this church".  So it is significant that it is also being dedicated by a Pope whose baptismal name is Joseph."

The Pope noted the originality of Antoni Gaudí to join the architecture and theology in the construction of the Sagrada Familia, precisely at a time when, he said, "the man tries to build his life back to God." The Pope also spoke about the dignity of man as "temple of God."