We thought it was a way of making Pope Francis’s words ours: “the church has to be always the open house of the Father. One of the concrete signs of that openness is to have the temples with open doors everywhere.” (EG47) “To open the basilica” was a motto that wished “to make the dream of the missionary option come true that it is capable of transforming everything so that customs, styles, schedules, language and the entire ecclesiastical structure become a suitable channel for the evangelization of the current world”. (EG27)
It seems to us that it really sums up well what you can find here. Opening the basilica means opening a place for prayer and recollection at the feet of the Mother of God of Mercy. A welcoming space in a temple which also wants to be open to the past, so full of history closely linked to our beloved Barcelona.
Indeed our history began here, with bishop Berenguer, King Jaime I and St. Pedro Nolasco, the first general of the order of la Merced. Our story is precious in content and prolific spirituality.
Opening the basilica also means looking to the future beyond this moment. Not only opening the basilica to the parishioners, children of this Parish, but also to the sons and daughters of God who come from the city of Barcelona, of whom our Merced is its patron saint and princess. To open the Basilica also to all the pilgrims from all over the world who hope to find an open, fraternal and welcoming space, in our sanctuary.
The Pope continues by affirming that “if the entire church assumes its missionary dynamism it must reach everyone without exception. But, who should be the privileged ones? When one reads the Gospel one encounters a compelling orientation: not only wealthy friends and neighbours but above all the sick and the poor, and all those who are often despised and forgotten”. (EG48)
Opening the Basilica is to open its heart to the brother in need. And not only as a consequence of occupying a central place in a polyhedral place, but also in coherence with the Christian faith itself and fidelity to the testimony of St. Pedro Nolasco. The presence among us of the community of Los hermanitos del Cordero (The little brothers of the Lamb) as well as many other similar initiatives, should encourage us to “open the basilica” to the most needy people.
We are going to open the basilica in three fundamental areas, in common with the desire of Pope Francis and our Cardinal Archbishop, who in their basic lines regarding the evangelization of large cities, guide us towards spirituality, pilgrimage and charity.
Spirituality means to offer a place of silence for prayer, the possibility of spiritual retreats, prolonged moments of worship to the Blessed Sacrament and of filial devotion to our Mother, Mary.
Pilgrimage means letting the parishioners know who their princess and mother is, who always awaits them and who delicately welcomes her children who have come from afar. A great missionary and liberating initiative started from this her home, which is still in full force today. Also today the Virgin wishes to be the mother of mercy and liberator of all those who go on pilgrimages through this troubled world, often captives of desire for wealth, pleasure or seductions to which our freedom succumbs.
Here, In this virtual space that we now present to you, you will find not only the updated hours of services and worship in the basilica, but also the day to day of the Brotherhood of la Merced, a special promoter of the life of the Basilica and other initiatives that seek to combine the efforts of many volunteers who are joining this great project. They are the new Mercedarians who encourage us to discover this space of prayer where we can meet God and our brothers, while we go on a pilgrimage together below the gaze of Mary and the need to recognize Christ, incarnate in the one who suffers most.