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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Presentation of the Holy See Pavilion at EXPO 2015

Vatican City, 14 April 2015 (VIS) – A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present the Holy See Pavilion at “EXPO Milan” 2015, Italy, to be held from 1 May to 31 October this year, which will take as its theme: “Not by bread alone”. The Pavilion was promoted, constructed and organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Italian Episcopal Conference, the diocese of Milan and the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.

The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and commissioner general for the Holy See for EXPO 2015; Msgr. Domenico Pompili, under-secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) and Msgr. Luca Bressan, episcopal vicar for culture, charity, the mission and social action in the diocese of Milan.

Cardinal Ravasi explained that “the presence of the Holy See Pavilion at EXPO Milan 2015 is not a novelty, considering that from the papacies of Pius IX to Benedict XVI the Holy See has taken part in international exhibitions to demonstrate the Church's desire to make her voice heard and to offer her testimony regarding the delicate themes, relevant to the future, that are from time to time proposed by the Expositions, especially in recent decades. The cultural policy of the Holy See therefore remains coherent in confirming the importance of being present and taking part in debates on crucial matters regarding the ways in which we inhabit our planet and safeguard the future”.

In particular, for EXPO 2015, the Holy See intends to guide visitors' attention towards the symbolic relevance of nourishment and the potential for the anthropological development of the theme in all its breadth and complexity. The Holy See Pavilion will take as its title two short Biblical phrases: 'Not by bread alone' and 'Give us today our daily bread', which lead towards a broad and full rather than a reductive view of human needs, and to a concrete approach mindful of daily life, with its demands and emergencies”.

Msgr. Domenico Pompili affirmed that “the intention of EXPO 2015 is to imagine another form of food justice, thereby providing the opportunity for world Countries to share ideas on how to improve food security. Its purpose is also to reconsider the role of science and research, crucial to the development of risk management technology. In the meantime, it is important to acknowledge the ongoing commitment of Italian churches to ensuring food to those in need. The participation of the Italian Episcopal Conference, alongside the Holy See and the diocese of Milan, thus represents a commitment that extends beyond the timeframe of Milan's Universal Exhibition. Over 4,000,000 people in Italy (70 per cent of whom are Italian citizens) currently live below the poverty line while the number of the most deprived requiring food aid in Italy continues to rise. These people are supported in their primary needs by almost 15,000 territorial charitable structures. Through food parcels, soup kitchens or other more innovative forms of intervention, such structures offer support to the most needy”.

Msgr. Luca Bressan commented that the Holy See Pavilion will offer to help tourists and citizens encounter “the mystical dimension, openness to God”. He added that the method to be followed will be that of posing problems and making suggestions to solve them, “used with success by Pope Francis, to show that the Church is not a sour schoolmistress but rather a sister who shares our path with lucidity and a vision of the future, a devoted mother able to show the ways and the resources of the future”. On 18 May, the Church's presence at Expo Milan 2015 will be inaugurated with a show demonstrating that the relationship with food is the place in which man's lack of harmony with Creation and with other human beings is made most tangible; “where, more than any other place, the throwaway culture is most glaringly evident”.

The feast day of Corpus Christi will be celebrated during Expo Milan 2015, offering an opportunity to show to the world that “the nourishment and future of man and of Creation are protected and generated by this bread that is, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ, Who died for us and rose again, God's love made flesh. … We will be able to show how, in Jesus Christ, God makes us able to be in solidarity with all these hungers”. Expo will also serve to highlight that Christians cannot fail to be environmentally aware, since the consequences of consumerism and wastefulness that obscure the original role linked to food and the act of nourishing are clearly visible in “emergencies such as the waste of resources and the enormous inequalities in their distribution, … and in the phenomenon of pollution and the unchecked exploitation of the planet's resources”. All this “is contrary to the Creator's original plan and is the sign of a still very immature way of undertaking our task of inhabiting the planet like a garden able to nourish everyone”. Therefore, in the streets of Milan, in the abbeys that surround the city and in the “Sacri Monti” of the Alps, the feast day of Creation, a traditional event for Eastern Christians, will be celebrated and will become for the visitors of Expo Milan 2015 a form of “sentinel” for nature.

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