Jaume Català i Albosa (Arenys de Mar 1835 - Barcelona 1899)

Jaume Català was ordered priest at twenty-one years old. He was made Bishop of Barcelona in 1883 and he was it until his decease in 1899. During his pontificate the façade of the cathedral was finished, thanks to the patronage of the banker Manuel Girona -project which that Gaudí was opposed- and many new parishes would be constructed, like Sant Martí de Provençals, Sant Joan de Gràcia, Sant Vicens de Sarrià or Sant Andreu de Palomar. During the epidemic of cholera of 1885, that Gaudí passed sheltered in Sant Feliu de Codines, Dr Català, together with other priests, monks and nuns, remained in Barcelona and helped heroically the sick of the city. Thus, he was affected by the cholera in September of 1885, but he survived. Few months afterwards, in March 1886, he authorized the construction of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament of the parish of Sant Feliu d'Alella, according to project of Antoni Gaudí. Dr. Català i Albosa presided over the coronation of our Lady of Mercy, on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1888; and he protected Jacint Verdaguer. He razed a true popularity, for his behavior during the cholera and as a defender of the rights of the workers and opponent to the death penalty. Soon he showed his interest in the works of the Holy Family, and on 30th June 1890 he signed a conciliation with the founders, Josep Maria Bocabella and his son-in-law Manuel de Dalmases, about the works of the Temple and the alms with which it was built. To the death of the daughter of Bocabella, in 1893, Dr. Català wanted that the Bishopric of Barcelona take charge on oneself of the Temple, in which seemed interested some religious congregation. He negotiated with the tutors of the orphans Dalmases their status, according to the Catalan civil law, and in 1895 he arrived at a pact with them about “El Propagador", the Association of Worshippers of Saint Josep and the Temple. The magazine remained in hands of the publishing company "Herederos de la Vda. Pla", property of the family; and the Association and the Temple passed definitively to the Bishopric of Barcelona. Dr. Català issued a decree reorganizing the work "of this lavish and artistic factory, jewel of the modern architecture and admiration of own and foreign", clerking it from particular foundation in diocesan work. Then, he created the Board of Works, of which he assumed the presidency, and he nominated persons favorable to Gaudí as members, among them his teacher Joan Martorell i Monteys. With his agreement, Tomàs de Boada proposed the pope Lion XIII his transfer and that of the pontifical court in Barcelona in 1899. Barcelona and Arenys de Mar have dedicated streets to Bishop Català.

Josep Maria Tarragona, November 27, 2008

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