As the Spanish cities Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona make final preparations for the Holy Father's arrival this weekend, the Pope has asked everyone to accompany him on the pastoral trip with "fervent prayer."
In his Spanish-language greeting during Wednesday's general audience, the Holy Father made the prayer appeal for his visit to Spain from Nov. 6-7. "I invite you to accompany me with your fervent prayer next weekend," he said, noting the two stops on the trip.
In Santiago de Compostela, the final destination of the "Way of St. James" pilgrimage route, he will be "joining pilgrims that arrive at the feet of the Apostle in this Holy Year," he said. Organizers are bracing for an estimated 200,000 people to swell the city for the Nov. 6 occasion.
The Holy Year is a jubilee celebration observed for an entire year every time the feast of St. James, July 25, falls on a Sunday.
The highlight of his schedule in Santiago will be the afternoon celebration of Mass in the square outside the city's cathedral.
The Holy Father also said that it is with "joy" that he will dedicate the church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) in Barcelona the following day, Nov. 7.
He is expected to speak about the profound meaning that can be found in the details of the "marvelous church,” which will be raised to the status of basilica by the Holy Father. Sagrada Familia is the creation of the late architect Antonio Gaudi, whose cause for beatification is currently being considered.
The Pope explained the underlying motive of his trip to the two significant Spanish destinations, saying, "I am going as a witness of the Risen Christ, with the desire of carrying to all his Word, in which can be found light to live with dignity and hope to build a better world."