9th of July, 2003 - The beatifying process of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí has entered its central phase with the celebration of the first session in the Vatican Congregation for the Cause of Saints. In a protocolary act, the undersecretary of the commission of studies of the Congregation, monsignor Michele di Ruberto, has broken the sealing wax of the boxes which contain the acts and documentation of the preliminary process followed in the archbishophric of Barcelona.

The next step will be to examine formally the 1.042 pages of the process account and the books and documents enclosed, before decreeing their juridical validity to proceed to the study itself of the case, which will be developed without an expiry date.

To the opening session of this Vatican phase have assisted the cardinal archbishop of Barcelona, Ricard Maria Carles, the judge of the first phase, Josep Maria Blanquet, and the president of the Gaudí Pro-beatification Association, José Manuel Almuzara.

They also have been present there the postulator of the cause, Silvia Correale, Gaudí's biographer Josep Maria Tarragona and Etsuro Sotoo, the Japanese sculptor who has finished the Nativity façade of the Sagrada Familia temple, the Catalan architect's masterpiece.

The first possible miracles from Gaudí

Tarragona has explained that, going parallel to the examining of the cause by the Vatican, the aforesaid Gaudí pro-beatifying association will start to study with "detail and objectivity" the cases which have arrived there and which are presented as possible miracles. The certification of a miracle by the intercession of the aspirant to blessed is an indispensable condition for being him finally raised to the altars.

Tarragona has said that at the moment, they have four letters, three coming from Latin America and the fourth one from Catalonia, in which are linked other four inexplicable healings with the invoking to Gaudí.

The process beatifying of the genial architect started in February, 2000 and was closed in its first stage in the archbishophric of Barcelona last 13th of May. The present " Roman phase ", which may be extended during several years, all the information gathered about his life and work will be examined thoroughly by a team of experts, composed by historians, theologians and physicians. This group will be charged to give their approval to the proceedings, which will be later submitted to the approval of a committee of cardinals and bishops, prior to be brought to the Pope for its ratification.

The devouts of Gaudí

The promoters of the cause assert that Gaudí has a great deal of devotees in the world, for thousands of have been distributed devotion stamps for the private devotion in Spanish, Catalan, English, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Polish and Korean.

From the Gaudí Pro-beatifying Association, "hope" is not lost that the process beatifying will be "quick" and its president, Almuzara, bases it in the fact that "John Paul II likes to beatify people which weren't neither priests nor members of religious orders and which lived in sanctity".

Tarragona has said that "it may also help" that he is the first architect and the first artist since the Blessed Angelico, the well-known Italian Renaissance painter. Tarragona is completely sure that there won't be "any serious problem, for it deals with an exemplary personality of prayer and sacramental life, who chose the voluntary poverty ".

An excellent professional and mystic at the end of his life

In the motivations of the process held in Barcelona it is insisted that Gaudí made an excellent professional work from humility and that in his last years he became a mystic.

Almuzara has asserted that the proceeding costs are covered with altruist work and with the donations which the faithful put in the alms box placed beside the architect's tomb in the Sagrada Familia.

Read more about the beatification of Gaudí.

More information:
Josep Giralt
Tel. 93 415 25 66
Fax. 93 415 30 33