The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pope Benedict in Barcelona

Yesterday, on our first full day in Barcelona, we left town on an early morning train and headed for the hills of Montserrat. What an amazing place -- the spiritual home of Catalonia, a Benedictine monastery tucked in among strange, serrated peaks only an hour west of Barcelona. I have no time to elaborate this morning, since we're about to leave for our cruise ship, but I promise to provide photos and a bit of commentary on a future post. The basilica, however, is beautiful and is the home of the "Black Madonna," the statue attributed to St. Luke. (See the photo at left.) We had a wonderful visit, complete with two cable car rides.

By this morning we were resigned to missing Pope Benedict XVI during his visit. After all, we had no tickets to the venues he would visit and really knew nothing of his schedule. But then, this morning, while on a walk near our hotel, the four of us encountered many small groups of people carrying papal flags and all moving in the same general direction. And so we followed until we came to a main street lined with barricades and manned by hundreds of policemen. We found an English-speaking policeman who told us the pope would drive by in 45 minutes. We waited, along with hundreds of others, and were finally rewarded when Pope Benedict sped by in the famous Pope-mobile. I was able to get one reasonably good photo of him as he passed by (below),

What a blessing to have more or less stumbled on his route this morning. As you can see by the photo below, Diane, Ellen and Walter were caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment. Walter had even located a source of those little papal flags. A wonderful morning!
More soon...

God's peace.

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