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Gaudì in Rome

· In an exhibition in the Carlo Magno Wing of the Vatican, the inauguration of the work of the brilliant architect of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona ·

More than five thousand people filled the beautiful nave of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on November 6th to commemorate with a Eucharistic celebration the first anniversary of its solemn dedication by Pope Benedict XVI on November 7th 2010.

At the climax of the ceremony - having listened to a reading of a letter from the Holy Father to the Cardinal Archbishop on his priestly jubilee and the message of the Cardinal Secretary of State, in the name of the Pope, to the whole diocesan community – participants saw the figure of Benedict XVI appear on TV screens throughout the basilica and were able to hear from his lips the words he had pronounced that morning during the recitation of the Angelus.

The Pope had said, “I remember one year ago in Barcelona, I had the joy of dedicating the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, an admirable synthesis of technique, beauty and faith, created by the servant of God Antoni Gaud’, brilliant architect.”

Those gathered in the Sagrada Familia welcomed the Pope’s message with long applause. In that moment, we were all able to relive the joyful climate of that other Sunday, November 7 2010, when Benedict XVI was among us to dedicate the temple of the Sagrada Familia, to which he gave the title of minor basilica with the bull Templum Dei et Christifidelium communitatis, dated and sealed with the Ring of the Fisherman on that same day in Barcelona.

In listening to the Pope’s words, I remembered what he had said at lunch at the Archbishop’s House in Barcelona on the day of the dedication, “I will hold an indelible memory of this morning’s celebration.” It was very moving for us to hear once again that the Pope’s days in Barcelona gave him great joy.

We too hold moving and grateful memories of the Pope’s visit to Barcelona on November 6 and 7th. We felt – then as now – deeply loved by the Pope and called to revitalize our Catholic faith and tighten the bonds of communion with the successor of Peter. This is what we wish to express with the exhibition “Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Art, Science, Spirituality,” which will be inaugurated on November 24th in the Carlo Magno wing next to St. Peter’s Square and will continue through January 15 of next year. We were overjoyed to be able to bring to the Eternal City the work of a genial architect and an exemplary Christian, whose process of beatification has already begun. Antoni Gaudì the creator of the basilica of Sagrada Familia is a Catalan who every day becomes even more universal. This exhibition in Rome is meant above all as an act of thanks to the Pope for the reasons cited above and to the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization for their interest and sensitivity towards the basilica and its brilliant architect, without forgetting the two initiatives organized by these dicasteries which will take place next year in Barcelona: the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” and the “Mission Metropolis,” which will take place in Barcelona and in other eleven European cities.

Gaudì said that in the temple of the Sagrada Familia everything is providential. Today, faced with the urgency of evangelization, we have in Barcelona a very beautiful and original religious monument, rich in biblical, ecclesial, catechetical and liturgical symbolism which constitutes an excellent instrument for evangelizing the men and women of our times.

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