During their pilgrimage to Europe in 2016, a most inspiring and unforgettable experience for Fr. Workman and parishioners must have been a visit to La Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain.  This church, now nearing completion, is the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family.
Its ecclesiastical or organizational status is a minor basilica.  As one studies the history, intricate and beautiful architecture and immense size, (planned complete height is 566 feet), the designation minor seems inappropriate.  The principle Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s plan was for “The temple, as a whole, as well as being a place of divine worship, will artistically represent the truths of religion and the glorification of God and His saints.”  As one visits or studies this structure today, agreement must be universal Gaudi achieved what he planned.
Antoni Gaudi’s concept was based on Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals.  As he embarked on this monumental project, he must have known it would not be completed in his lifetime.  Started in 1883,  forty years were spent in its design and forty-three years during construction.  When he died in 1926 after a tragic accident at age 73, less than a quarter was complete.  Many architects followed, remaining as true as possible to Gaudi’s original plans.
Construction relied on private donations.  Interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Gaudi’s dream survived partial destruction of the Basilica, destruction of his models and workshops by Catalan anarchists.  Intermittent progress was resumed during the 1950’s.  Today, the intricacies of design with mingling of sculptor, light and color are truly amazing in the symbolism explaining the history of Christianity and its meaning in elevation to God.  La Sagrada Familia Basilica has been described as… “the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages”.  Eighteen Spires, all not yet completed, are arranged in order of height representing the Twelve Apostles, Virgin Mary, four Evangelists and the tallest, Jesus Christ.  21st Century technology with computer design has accelerated construction.  The estimated target date for completion is 2026-2028.
La Sagrada Familia Basilica was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 November, 2010.  Antoni Gaudi’s dream of a Basilica for the glorification of God is as near to perfection as the human mind can achieve.
2016 Pilgrimage to Europe