Office for pilgrims

The basilica Mare de Déu de la Merced was appointed Patron Saint of Barcelona in 1687 by the Consell de Cent, in gratitude for the immediate remission of a plague of locusts and a period of drought which were the origin of an epidemic of plague and famine that swept across the city and its surroundings for months, causing a great mortality amongst the population. The city of Barcelona turned to la Mare de Déu de la Mercé in prayer and considered that it was her intercession which brought back normality to the city. Since then she is considered the “Princess of Barcelona” and “Protector of the city”.

In 1868 at the request of the Bishop of Barcelona D. Pantaleón Montserrat, Pius IX, canonically proclaimed the Virgin of la Merced Patron Saint of the city and diocese. From that year on the 24th of September has been established as the feast day of the Patron Saint.

On 21st October, 1888 Bishop Dr. Jaime Catalá i Albosá crowns her canonically on behalf of Pope Leo XIII.

In 1959 a bronze statue is placed on top of the Dome of the basilica, in place of the one that was destroyed in the revolution of 1936.

All these dates and events are an expression of the profound devotion that the population of this city feels for the Virgin de la Merced. There are many women who bear her name, there are many couples who have got married in the Basilica and many families have wanted their children to be christened at the foot of the statue of the Virgin of la Merced. There are also many people who have wanted to leave this world celebrating their funeral in the basilica before the image that practically saw them enter this world when they were presented to Her newly born. This explains why, on 24th September, the people of Barcelona come in thousands to visit their Patron saint and light candles and offer her flowers as a sign of their love and devotion.

And this explains too why so many groups of pilgrims from the rest of Spain and other parts of the world want to take advantage of their visit to the city to see the Princess of Barcelona and attend Holy Mass in the Main Altar, or in one of the chapels of the Sanctuary; or also to celebrate other acts of prayer: Holy Hour, para-liturgies, say the rosary ……

Furthermore, if you would like to hold a private religious ceremony, you may do so by making a reservation in advance. The rector and the staff of the basilica are available to assist, advise and help you in the preparation thereof.

If a group or family wish to reserve a day and time to celebrate Mass or any other kind of devotional function, please contact the secretary of the basilica. This may be done by e-mail: or by phone on 93 315 27 56