Anniversary of the Restoration of the Order in Spain
A congregation of about 3,000 people attended a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated on 15 December in the Holy Family Basilica in Barcelona (Spain), to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Restoration of the Hospitaller Order in Spain, and the foundation of the Barcelona Hospital dedicated to Saint John of God.
Brothers, co-workers, volunteers and benefactors of the Order had gathered to celebrate the fact that it was precisely here, in Barcelona, 150 years ago, that St Benedict Menni, a Brother of Saint John of God and the Founder of the Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, embarked on thr work of restoring the Hospitaller Order of St John of God. In 1867, the young Brother Benedict Menni reached Barcelona from Italy, at the orders of the then Superior General, Giovanni M. Alfieri, to re-establish the Order’s presence in Spain following its extinction in the wake of the anticlerical legislation enacted in 1835. And it was in Barcelona that Father Menni founded a children’s asylum-hospital which would later become today’s ‘Sant Joan de Déu’ Children’s Hospital.
The Bishop of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Mgr Agustín Cortés, presided at the Mass which was concelebrated by Mgr Sergi Gordó, the Auxiliary Bishop of Barcelona, Mgr José Luis Redrado, Titular Bishop of Ofena and Brother of St John of God, and Brother Jesús Etayo, the Superior General of the Order, and several other priests.
This Provincial Superior, Brother José Luis Fonseca, delivered the welcome address to the large congregation.