Those who are fans of the Traditional Latin mass oftentimes have a difficult task in trying to track down places in Barcelona where such masses are celebrated. The many churches, chapels, and monasteries throughout the city are often awe-inspiring because of their incredible age, beauty, or size, but in all of these places the celebration of the mass is almost always in Catalan, and sometimes in Castilian. Other than the occasional French, German, or Italian parish, both the Tridentine and Novus Ordo Latin mass are rather hard to find. All the more reason then, for pilgrims to Barcelona interested in this area to visit the beautiful little chapel featured in this post.
The little Baroque Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy and the Apostle St. Peter is a small but remarkable 18th century structure, tucked away in the Eixample district in mid-town Barcelona. It was originally a private chapel which stood within the estate of an important Barcelona family, in what was at that time a semi-rural area some miles outside of the old city walls. The construction of such chapels was not uncommon among the wealthier members of the Catalan bourgeoisie, and are still to be found in country houses throughout Catalonia. Nevertheless, this private structure is a remarkable architectural survival inside a bustling city.
With the expansion of the city northward outside of the old medieval walls in the mid-19th century, the building and the land on which it sits were sold to a religious order. The German nuns who occupied the site built a Catholic girls’ school, and used the chapel for their conventual and school needs. By the early 1960’s the school had run out of room and needed to move into larger quarters, and so the chapel was once again put up for sale.
This time the structure was purchased by the Federatio Internationalis Una Voce, or “Una Voce” Foundation, the Spanish arm of which was founded in Barcelona in 1964 to preserve the celebration of the Traditional Latin mass, as well as to encourage the singing of Gregorian Chant. In point of fact, the chapel can hold the claim to fame of never having celebrated any other form of the mass other than the Tridentine: the nuns had left while the Second Vatican Council was underway, and the chapel was mothballed until the Federation moved in. Subsequently the related Roma Aeterna Association was also founded in Barcelona, and chapters of Una Voce were established in other cities in Spain and Portugal. However this chapel remained the touchstone for this movement, which continues to grow in the Iberian Peninsula.
Both the low and high Tridentine mass continue to be celebrated here every Sunday, although the chapel is no longer associated with the Una Voce or Roma Aeterna organization. I have recently been informed by a member of Una Voce that the coverage is spotty, and the chapel may be on the market again, so those wanting to attend mass here will have to double-check with parish of St. Therese of the Little Flower nearby, which administers the building. Hopefully the building will not be sold to a secular buyer and then be deconsecrated. In the meantime, the priests of the FSSP have recently begun holding masses at the parish of Maria Reina in Pedralbes, which I have written about previously, which is a much larger venue.