Pope To Visit Barcelona
Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit Barcelona in November, as part of a two day trip to Spain which will take in the holy pilgrimmage site of Santiago de Compostela on the 6th, and then head to the Catalan capital on the 7th.
The event will be eagerly anticipated by Barcelona's faithful as during his last visit in 2006, the Pope never made it to Catalonia. This time however he has a special reason: for the consecration of Gaudi's towering cathedral La Sagrada Familia. Despite the first brick being laid well over a hundred years ago, the church is still not finished and has never been officially consecrated, so the 7th of November is sure to be a special date for Catholics in Spain.
6,900 people will be invited to follow the mass in the vast nave of La Sagrada Familia itself, whilst another 40,000 are expected to be able to watch the ceremony on giant TV screens outside the cathedral.
It will be interesting to see what Pope Benedict thinks of Gaudi's ostentatious and frankly bizarre masterpiece, and whether - upon seeing the work of the man close up - he decides to speed up the wishes of many Catholics who would have Gaudi made a Saint. A rude and difficult man no doubt, Gaudi was also a pious believer who spent the last 40 years solely devoted to building a temple fitting of his most important client - God.