|The fire of April 19, 2011|
|Holy Tuesday, April 19, 2011, was held as daily Mass at 9 in the Crypt of the Sagrada Família, space open for worship in 1885 and since 1905 acts as parish church, and accessed by a direct entrance from the street, not included in the tour to entitle the ticket. |
Nothing drew attention, perhaps the pious participation of four girls from Madrid, who had planned to visit the Basilica after the Mass, which lasted in a time of personal prayer.
The usual faithful had already left and only left them with Mrs. Conxa, who usually takes care of the objects of worship in the crypt and had offered to guide them in the cultural visit to the upper basilica. They went to venerate the tomb of Antoni Gaudí, in the chapel of Our Lady of Carmen.
At this time, they noticed a strong burning smell. They thought the candles were offered up there by the devotees of the architect, but burned without problems. Then they realized it came from the sacristy, next to the chapel and closed after the celebration. Mrs. Conxa opened the door. He left a lot of smoke and, from the flames, a man miraculously unharmed, well dressed, with two outstanding red ears and a strange look -something like the character that walks around “The Passion” of Mel Gibson- on a hooked nose and a half smile to missing some teeth. He was the arsonist, who uttered cries anticlerical while running towards the exit of the street. Women pursued him, caught him and locked him in a parish office when the guards of the basilica, the police and fire-fighters comee.
He wore a flammable spray and several lighters. Also the bell used in the consecration and metal casket which holds the key to the tabernacle; were his personal trophies, or perhaps the evidence in their heads that he had performed the action.
- Who sent you? -asked Mrs. Conxa.
But the arsonist did not answer, just shrugged and denied that he had caused the fire.
The women had spent the two fire extinguishers and tried unsuccessfully to reach the hose, located beyond the locked gate is in the staircase to the upper basilica. The destruction of the sacristy was complete. Air conditioning machinery and electrical panel are there. Both had just exploded, shattering the door of the sacristy and furniture, and much of the electrical installation of the temple. The flames had burned a stock of prayer cards in over twenty languages for private devotion to Antoni Gaudí and all the books and liturgical objects, except one: the crucifix.
If it were not for the permanence of Madrid girls after the Eucharist, the arsonist, alone, would have burned the whole Crypt. The smoke from the sacristy filled it, blackening the walls and vaults of the chapels, including that of Our Lady of Carmen, where Gaudí is buried. It was out of the windows facing the inside of the upper basilica. TheBoard, which has no surveillance in the Crypt, ordered the closing of the basilica and the eviction of the 1500 tourists who had already entered, which was conducted with great order and efficiency.
Thus, the courageous Madrid girls stayed on time without a cultural visit, but had a friendly conversation with the pastor of the Crypt:
"Do not worry, Mosen Lluís. Right now we have commissioned a chasuble and a stole, which will be sent immediately.”
Meanwhile, on account of the Associació pro Beatificació d'Antoni Gaudí -civil entity other than the Board of Temple- were received donations fifteen donations totaling more than three thousand euros, far above the value of cards burnt. What do you think? Gaudi has been active, taking the well - the faithful generosity- of the unfortunate attack.
This is the second arson attack on the Sagrada Família. There were a few near misses during the Setmana Tragic (July 27, 1909), but the authors, not oppose any human strength, spontaneously abandoned their attempts. In contrast, the Sagrada Familia was burned on 20 July 1936, with severe damage.
The Crypt will be closed for several weeks. This morning, the Eucharist was held in the parish hall, another stunning work of Gaudí. For the next few days, Cardinal Martínez Sistach has rightly decided to be held in the chapel apse of the basilica, closing off tourism by means of partitions the space of the apse and ambulatory. What do you think? Gaudí ensures the sanctity of the temple.
|Josep Maria Tarragona, April 20, 2010||