The Reign, In Spain
The report from CNS:
On the first day of the trip, Pope Benedict will preside over the consecration of Barcelona's famous church, La Sagrada Familia [right], the unfinished masterpiece by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.Struck and killed by a passing trolley in 1926, Gaudí's cause for beatification was floated some years back; on a related note, the Spanish church will soon celebrate the elevation of Manuel Lozano Garrido -- the first known journalist to be raised to the penultimate step to sainthood, his beatification scheduled for June.
The Barcelona church, officially called the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family), was begun in 1882 but was not completed by Gaudi. It has never been formally consecrated.
The architect was a Catholic who renounced secular art in his later years and dedicated most of his life to building the church. When questioned about the lengthy construction period, he would answer, "My client is not in a hurry."
The day after visiting Barcelona, the pope will head to Santiago de Compostela, the northern Spanish city that became an important pilgrim destination in the Middle Ages. Tradition holds that the remains of the Apostle James the Greater are buried there.
The pope's trip to Santiago de Compostela coincides with the city's Holy Year, which occurs every time St. James' feast day, July 25, falls on a Sunday.
As the wire notes, alongside the freshest addition to 2010's papal road roster are visits to Malta next month, Portugal in May, Cyprus come June and, of course, the pontiff's visit to Britain, soon to be confirmed for 16-19 September.
That said, the Spanish trip will tie the country with Benedict's native Germany for the most-visited destination of his five-year reign -- the pontiff first visited Spain in summer 2006 for the church's World Meeting of Families in Valencia.