I haven’t committed to this yet, but we’re thinking of attending Sunday mass each week at one of the many churches here in Barcelona.  We started with Sagrada Familia this morning, and I was quite surprised.

Anyone can attend Sunday mass, just like at any other Catholic church anywhere.  Mass is celebrated in the crypt, below the main floor, mostly out of sight of the amazing architecture.  Here are the pillars that support everything else, and here the mass is simple, about 150 people, no pageantry, only a single priest in vestments and one gentleman to serve at the altar.  He carried a box of wooden matches to the altar to light the candles, as the organist experimented to find the right stops for such a small space.  The pews were slightly better than folding chairs, with no padding, and not even fastened to the floor.  The entire mass, though perfectly recognizable in all its parts, had less ceremony than most masses at Our Lady of Good Counsel back in Endicott.

At Sagrada Familia, in some ways, the simple place where mass is celebrated felt more holy, or maybe holy in a different way, than the majestic cathedral above.  All in all, I found the entire experience refreshing.  This mass was about the mass, and that’s all.

Out of respect, I took no pictures in the crypt.  Instead, here’s the little school that Gaudi built for those working on the church.

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It’s very close.

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Here is a detail of the perspective illusion over the windows.  It’s quite convincing to my eye.

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Finally, I promise, no more on Sagrada Familia.

On Wednesday we’re going to see an FC Barcelona game at Camp Nou, which is only a few blocks away.  Maybe we’ll take the stadium tour later today.