The church was consecrated by Benedict XVI in 2010, and named a basilica. Still under construction, it is expected to be completed by 2026, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
The basilica is known to have inspired conversions, one of whom was a Japanese architect who in 1998 was sent by the South Korean government to study Gaudi's work in Barcelona, in preparation for an exhibition on the Gaudi’s works.
Given only one week to complete his work, the man, a Buddhist at the time, wrote a letter to the association several months later revealing that he was converting to Catholicism.
That same Japanese architect designed a special ambo for Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which was completed and installed in time for Francis’ Nov. 10 visit to the Italian city. (Almuzara told us this during the Pope’s visit to Florence – we tried to track the architect down, but were never able to reach him.)
Almuzara and Correale also had a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, and the congregation’s secretary Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci, in order to discuss the progress of Gaudi’s cause.
The meeting was “very cordial and helpful,” Almuzara said, adding that while no dates have been set, the cardinal encouraged them to continue working to advance the cause.
Specifically, the cardinal encouraged them in their work compiling what is called the “la positio super vita, virtutibus et fama sanctitatis,” that is, the book compiling “the position on the life, virtues and reputation of holiness” of the person under question.
Included in “the positio” are several things, which Almuzara listed as: a full exposition on the history of the cause or process; the declarations of the witnesses and the documentation on the person’s life, work and the reputation of holiness of the person’s intercession; the opinion on the person’s writings; the documented biography of the person and the information on the heroic virtues they exercised.
Once the volume is completed it must be presented to the congregation, Almuzara said, explaining that if they recognize the heroic virtue of Gaudi, it will then be presented to the Pope, who would then authorize it’s publication, allowing Gaudi to be called “Venerable.”
He also spoke of possible miracles attributed to Gaudi, saying that while there is “no miracle recognized as such” yet, certain favors have been recorded by individuals and families who have asked for Gaudi’s intercession and sent them in for study.
As of now “there is no concrete date for Gaudi to be either a venerable or a blessed,” Almuzara said, but added “who can calculate or put a date on a miracle?”
(Story continues below)
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The miracle, he said, “we put in into the hands of Divine Providence, (because) only God knows the day and the hour.”
“Therefore we remain vigilant,” he said, and, quoting a remark Gaudi had made about the amount of time needed to complete the Sagrada Familia, stressed that “our client is not in a hurry.”