Today, Pope Benedict will begin a two-day apostolic journey, his second to Spain and his eighteenth outside Italy.
Pope Benedict will arrive in Santiago de Compostela, now a city of 95,000, late in the morning. Following a welcoming ceremony, the Pontiff will meet with Prince Felipe, the heir to the Spanish throne, and Princess Letizia (born 1972), Spain’s fashion icon and a former television journalist.
Pope Benedict is in Spain to visit the famed Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which was consecrated in 1211, some 136 years after construction began; he will venerate the relics of St. James the Greater.
Pope Benedict will offer Holy Mass on the occasion of the Compostelian Jubilee Year. The Mass will take place in the Plaza del Obradoiro, located in front of the cathedral. From Santiago he will head to Barcelona where he will designate the Sagrada Familia church as a basilica. The church is still under construction some 100 years after it was built. Protesters will be outnumbered by loyal Catholics as the Pope visits Spain as homosexual activists have announced a “kiss-in” demonstration in Barcelona at the time of the Pope’s appearance there.