Antoni Forns i Carulla

Antoni Forns i Carulla was born on July 1, 1862 in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (Alt Penedès), third son of the numerous offspring of Antoni Forns i Huguet, also natural of Sant Sadurní, Carlist and professional locksmith, and Joaquima Carulla i Baqués. He was baptized on July 3. He entered to Seminar of Barcelona at age 14. He was a student service, outside of holiday periods, what lived with his parents. Was ordained by Bishop Jaume Català i Albosa in 1888, when he was 26 years. He had shown signs of true vocation, and had obtained the ecclesiastical studies the prevailing rating of "benemeritus." All the witnesses required for priestly ordination were excellent. Father Antoni celebrated the new Mass in the church of his village on 27 December. Immediately, he began the "race" parish. He was curate of Sant Vicenç dels Horts (29-XII-1888), Santa Maria de Sans (25-XI-1889), Alella (7-VI-1890), la Mare de Déu del Pi in Barcelona (15-VI-1892) and Sant Miquel Arcàngel in Barcelona (6-III-1893). Then was treasurer priest in Sitges (1-IV-1903) and, later, parson of Cervello (1-VIII-1903, four years), Vilarrodona (10-XII-1897, eight years) and La Garriga ( 28-IV-1905, eleven years). Father Anthony participated in the competition for the provision of parish priest 1915, made by the Bishop of Barcelona under the provisions of the Council of Trent and the Concordat of 1851. On April 27, 1916, the King of Spain -who belonged to it, according to the Concordat- appointed parish priest of Sant Joan de Gràcia. On 28 June 1916 took possession, and there would be twenty years until his death. The parish was erected on August 22, 1868 and the first stone of the temple had been made on 21 April 1870. The nave is 40 m. long and 13.80 m. wide and had not finished the bell tower. The parish opened at 5am. morning and distributed communion, were confessions and said mass from 5h. 30' to 10 h. At the torn established between the parishes of the city, will celebrate the XL hours played over four days of early October and did so with great solemnity, like all other cults. At the parish there were other places of worship like the chapels of la Salut, Montserrat and el Carmel, the chapels of some manor houses, churches of the convents of monks and nuns and two private chapels, one of them to of Eusebi Güell, in the house that Gaudí had arranged for him in Park Güell. This chapel was erected by the Bishop of Barcelona on February 7, 1913. The population of the parish was of some 28,000 souls, most workers, which served as Mn. Antoni and eleven more priests to parish church, and others in various places of worship. As was normal at the time, almost all were baptized in the Catholic Church. There were a small number of protesters, almost all German and English, and a small core of spiritualist. There was no Masonic lodge. It felt more or less 20,000 souls “of communion”, of which 5,000 went to Mass on Sundays and holidays: 1,500 in the parish church and 3,500 in the churches of religious convents. They received communion on Sundays and holidays and some 600 faithful; every day, just over 200. Almost half of the dead -of which one third of infants were- dying without the sacraments, despite the availability of priests. Sant Joan de Gràcia was the parish of Antoni Gaudí since ten years, when he had moved to live at home to Park Guell. The niece, Roseta, died in 1912; and in 1916, when Mn. Forns came, the architect was engaged almost exclusively in the direction of the work of the Sagrada Família and the design of the parts that lacked. Sculptor Llorenç Matamala accompanied him to sleep at home in Park Güell. He usually went to his house early in the morning. Shortly afterwards, Antoni Gaudí walked down to the parish for Communion: it was one of two hundred faithful who did every morning. Then he had breakfast at a neighboring farm and continued also walking to the Sagrada Família. Some days went straight to work, alone or accompanied by Llorenç Matamala, and participated in one of the first Eucharist celebrated in the Crypt. On Sundays, he went to Mass at the Cathedral. Over time, due to rain, cold, rheumatism, etc.., Gaudí will be staying a few nights sleeping in his workshop at the Sagrada Família, a situation that became final in October 1925. On arrival Father Forn in 1916, he found a church, a parish house and chapel of the Blessed full of wonders, all carefully restored the fire of the Setmana Tràgica, the evening of 27 July 1909, had not trace left of the altar, the sides ones, the furniture, the windows, the paint, and damaged the structure. The parish house was also destroyed, except only the Blessed Sacrament chapel, which was then being built under the parish house, and the next day, at 7 pm morning, a new group of arsonists had burned completely. The architect of the rebuilding of the temple had been inseparable assistant of Gaudí, Francesc Berenguer, a resident of the parish and died on 8 February 1914. Probably, many details of the nave and the parish house had the direct influence of the master and, in any case, his opinion. The chapel of the Blessed, however, was a work of Gaudí and was opened in 1911. It is 14.80 m. long x 7.32 m in width. The roof, with a maximum height of 5.22 m, consists of the apse and four vaults, covered with mosaic, which drawn crosses of Malta and several Latin inscriptions of great piety and theological depth. The altar was of marble, supported on two columns of sculptured capitals. Following the liturgical ideas of Gaudí, the tabernacle was set up in the air without touching the table, and covered with a canopy. Surrounding the altar lot of angels that stand out among seven columns to hold seven candles because, according to Gaudi the Blessed Sacrament should be light and only with candles, yellow wax preferably, and adorn with flowers, if it could be better than all white lilies. The two confessionals were notable works of wood and deeply original. They had no roof, answering the liturgical idea of Gaudí that the confessional is a court and therefore must have a canopy. Mn. Forn was an excellent parish priest. Noted for the fans to build and restore buildings sacred, for apostolic zeal, and for the gift of counsel. Took care of the parishioners in the confessional and in parish office, devoting himself mainly to catechesis, visits the sick in homes, hospitals and asylums, and distribute alms to the poor. He had no other job that the Church, could not use weapons and always wore cassock and wearing hair tonsure. It was never, therefore, to cafes, casinos, in hunting, the bulls and other shows. Organized numerous pilgrimages to Rome, the Holy Land and Lourdes, and attended the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and Buenos Aires. And each year participated in the procession of Corpus Christi Cathedral, as Antoni Gaudí. Presided or promoted effectively parochial associations, such as the Daughters of Mary, the conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, the Pious Union of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Pious Union of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Association of the Virgin God of Carmen, the Lluïsos de Gràcia, the Moral Instruction Center of Gràcia, the Ateneu de Gàacia, the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Montserrat, the Association of Santa Lucia, the bearers of the thalamus, the atoning work of the Souls of Purgatory, the Holy Family visit, the Congregation of Our Crucified Lord, the night vigil of Jesus Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of Jesus Aimants, the Association of Young catechists, the Pious Union of St. Joseph of the Mountain, the Congregation of Mary Immaculate and St. Theodora, the Congregation of Our Lady of Providence, the Vigil in suffrage of the Souls in Purgatory and the Association Josephine. The latter, established in 1879, struggled to build an altar to St. Joseph in the parish and had approximately 250 associates and 50 partners, including Antoni Gaudi. Mn. Antoni was a pious person. His confessor was fixed and always admitted that his conscience required it, but every two weeks did confession at the church building for the faithful. Every day was mental prayer, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, passed the rosary and practiced the examination of conscience. In addition, of course, meet the Divine office. He used to celebrate Mass every day in the parish church and was prepared and thanked publicy. Every early morning distributed Communion and had a time of confession. He spent some time each day to ecclesiastical studies. He was subscribed to "El Correo Catalán", "La Vanguardia", "La Hormiga de Oro", "Reseña Ecclesiástica", "Sal Terrae", "Messenger of the Sacred Heart of Jesus", "Social Catalonia", "Exercitatorium" and "Revista Mercedaria". His partners chose him president of the Association of Rectors of Barcelona, Barcelona Bishop entrusted him with various counts, and the Holy See in 1931 named him Domestic Prelate of His Holiness. With the military revolt of July 18, 1936, it began the Spanish Civil War and the cruelest persecution against Catholics in the history of Catalonia. The temples, including the Holy Family, were burned, and priests and people that refuge, murdered. Mn. Antoni Forns, as so many people, he suspected for some time and repeated: "But to me, what they can do? I'm old and I am concerned only to do good to my parishioners. And if they come, here I am, therefore I will not hide." He remained in the parish. On Sunday 19 developed cults are normal; on Monday, 20 is still celebrated the Eucharist. The prayers of the faithful more addicts, agreed to take refuge in the house of Dr. Bou, located in front of the parish house. The church and parish house were burned, leaving only the walls and roof. On Tuesday 21 morning, a police officer advised him to take refuge in a place away from the parish, because they know that sought to kill him. He moved to the house of Dr. Casanovas, Alzina Street, no 3, but was recognized by a neighboring and residence only two days. He spent the Clinic Lourdes, at Torrent de l'Olla Streeet, camouflaged as a nurse. But two religious take refuge in the establishment, and he decided to go home of his nephew Joan Forns, who had housing and haberdashery shop on Gran Via, b. 496. There he came to seek his other nephew Pelegrí Forns to take him to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, where they could find a safer hiding place, but Mn. Antoni wanted to stay in Barcelona, in the hope that religious persecution were finish and return to their parish. Two days later, a patrol of Catholic priests murderers went at home at 2 am in the morning. Mn. Forns asked: "Who are looking for?" They said: "The parish priest of Sant Joan de Gràcia". He replied: "I am, here I am." The nephew had a job for they didn’t take him and then went to warn politicians left who knew, who confirmed that he no longer had anything to do for his uncle. They lead him to l’Arrabassada and killed with a shot in the stomach and another in the chest. The body entered the Hospital Clínic at 3 pm 30th July 1936, the tab 4071. Was known for his nephew Pelegrí and buried by their relatives in the cemetery of Sant Andreu de Palomar. On 26 January 1942, the remains of Mn. Antoni Forns went to another grave, which expire for failure to pay on 21 January 1987, so were finally buried in the ossuary of the general cemetery of Sant Andreu . Three other priests of the parish of Sant Joan de Gràcia lost their lives in these tragic circumstances. The vicar, Reverend Pere Henrich i Cuxart, 33, was caught trying to cross the border and killed in Clariana on 26 August 1936. The passions, Reverend Lluís Illa i Ferrer, was caught when he went to Manresa, in November 1936, and murder. The appointed Reverend Lluís Romañà i Brunet, just ordained, succeeded to go underground and developed a great activity with the seminarians, giving them spiritual and academic training. At the end of 1937, was mobilized by the Army of the Republic. Joined later in the XII International Brigade, became one of the many unknown victims immolated on the bloody Battle of the Ebre, in Ascó (Ribera d’Ebre) in October 1938.

Josep Maria Tarragona, October 31, 2011

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Last update: 06/05/2016