Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Barcelona on Saturday night, where on Sunday he solemnly consecrated the Sagrada Família temple. This is 28 years after his predecessor, the late John Paul II gave a mass at the Camp Nou to 120,000 believers.
On November 7, 1982 the Barça stadium witnessed a historic event, the first time a Pontiff had given mass in Catalonia. John Paul II’s visit was part of a wider tour of Spain, his first since becoming Pope in 1978. Under pouring rain, a congregation of 120,000 gathered on the recently extended Camp Nou terraces. John Paul II entered the stadium at 18:30 via the South goal, and blessed the adoring crowds. The Pope stood on a 600 m2 covered podium in the middle of the pitch. A huge 3000 m2 scarlet and yellow carpet was decorated with yellow flowers.
The Club presented the Holy Father with a package of surgical materials to be sent to the Third World. The Pope signed the club’s Book of Honour and presented a rosary to Josep Lluís Núñez. John Paul II was also presented with club membership card number 108,000. Years later, in November 2001, the update of the club register meant the Pope’s number became 103,350, which was the card he still had when he died on April 2, 2005.