Today I had the great joy of dedicating this church to him who, being the Son of the Most High, emptied himself and became man, and who, under the watchful care of Joseph and Mary, in the silence of the home of Nazareth, taught us without words of the dignity and the primordial value of marriage and the family, the hope of humanity, in which life finds its welcome from conception to natural death. He has taught us also that the entire Church, by hearing and putting his word into practice, becomes his family. And he has exhorted us to be a seed of fraternity which, sown in every heart, nourishes hope. [...]Later op de dag bezocht de paus het Obra Benéfico-Social del Nen Déu en zei daar onder meer:
The genius of Antoni Gaudí, inspired by the ardour of his Christian faith, succeeded in raising this sanctuary as a hymn of praise to God carved in stone. A praise of God which, as with the birth of Christ, has had as its protagonists the most humble and simple of people. In effect, Gaudí, through his work, sought to bring the Gospel to everyone. For this reason, he conceived of the three porticos of the exterior of the church as a catechesis on the life of Jesus Christ, as a great Rosary, which is the prayer of ordinary people, a prayer in which are contemplated the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of our Lord. In collaboration with the parish priest Gil Parés, he also designed and financed from his own savings the creation of a school for the children of the workers and of the poorest families of the neighbourhood, which was at that time a outlying suburb of Barcelona. He brought concrete reality to the conviction, saying: “The poor must always find a welcome in the Church, which is an expression of Christian charity.”
This morning I also had the satisfaction of declaring this church a minor basilica. In it, men and women of every continent can contemplate the façade of the Nativity. In prayer, let us now consider the mystery of the Incarnation and lift up our prayer to the Mother of God with the words of the Angel, as we entrust our lives and the life of the entire Church to her, while imploring the gift of peace for each and every person of good will.
The dedication of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia this morning has highlighted that churches are the sign of the true sanctuary of God among men. Here, I would like to emphasize how, through the efforts of this and similar church institutions, including the new Residence which you have wished to name after the Pope, it is clear that, for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need. In this way, the Church desires to put into practice the words of the Lord in the Gospel, “I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). In this land, these words of Christ have motivated many sons and daughters of the Church to dedicate their lives to teaching, to works of assistance and the care of the sick and the disabled. Inspired by their example, I ask you to continue to provide loving care to the smallest and the most needy, giving them the very best of yourselves.
In recent decades, remarkable advances in medicine have greatly contributed to the care of those in greatest need, advances which have been accompanied by a growing conviction of the importance of dedicated and humane treatment for the positive outcome of the healing process. Therefore, it is indispensable that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity, so that those who suffer physical illnesses or handicaps can always receive that love and attention required to make them feel valued as persons in their concrete needs.
I now turn to you, dear children and young people, giving thanks to God for your lives, so precious in his eyes, and I assure you that you have a special place in the Pope’s heart. I pray for you every day and I ask you to help me by means of your prayers so that I may faithfully fulfil the mission entrusted to me by Christ. I always remember in my prayers those who are dedicated to helping the suffering, and those who work tirelessly so that the handicapped can take their rightful place in society and not be marginalized because of their limitations. In this respect, I wish to recognize, in a special way, the faithful witness of priests and those who visit the sick at home, in hospitals or in other specialized institutions. They incarnate that important ministry of consolation in the face of human frailty, which the Church seeks to carry out in imitation of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:29-37).