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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Vatican City, 18 March 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the Holy See's participation as a guest of honour at the 27th Turin International Book Fair, to take place from 8 to 12 May. The speakers were: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Rolando Picchioni, president of the Foundation for Books, Music and Cultural Activities; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, S.D.B., director of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, and Ernesto Ferrero, editorial director of the Turin International Book Fair.

The Holy See will be represented by a stand in the form of a dome made out of books, explained Cardinal Ravasi. The plan incorporates the design for the new Vatican Basilica by Donato Bramante; the 500th anniversary of whose death is commemorated on 11 April.

The stand will be located in the third pavilion of the complex, and will host cultural and artistic events including: on Wednesday 7, a pre-inauguration concert performed by the choir of the Sistine Chapel; on Friday 9, a cultural debate between Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and a distinguished non-believer; and on Saturday 10, the presentation by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin of a new book dedicated to the Holy Father and a dialogue on the first year of Pope Francis' pontificate.

The Turin International Book Fair opened its doors for the first time in 2001, and each year it invites a different country to attend as a guest of honour. The participation of the Holy See this year, said Rolando Picchioni, “not only constitutes an out of the ordinary presence, but in a certain way has also shaped the spirit according to which the most important debates and events are structured. … Its most relevant contribution is the profoundly international and universal character of its constitutive and spiritual nature, and the marvellous variety of ways in which the message and teaching of the Church is translated into works of thought, reflection and literary and artistic creation”.

According to Ernesto Ferrero, the Vatican participation offers “a substantial contribution to the reflection that the Book Fair has promoted for years, posing questions on the current meaning of concepts such as Time, History, Beauty, Creativity, the 'I', the 'Other', by means of mutations, impetuous but disordered, not managed or directed. But it is precisely this function of governance that we must ask of books”.


Vatican City, 18 March 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, will visit Guatemala from 18 to 21 March in order to inaugurate a residential complex of nineteen houses and a chapel, constructed by various families, in Cuilapa, Santa Rosa de Lima. This project was carried out with the support of a donation given by the Holy Father following the natural disasters that afflicted the country in autumn 2011, as a sign of spiritual closeness to those people engaged in reconstruction works.

During his visit, Cardinal Sarah will meet with the representatives of Caritas Guatemala and the archdiocesan Caritas, and will visit the Villa de los Ninos, a college for poor young people who receive a study grant and full education up to the age of 18.


Vatican City, 18 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- erected the new diocese of Pankshin (area 8,486, population 1,100,000, Catholics 168,606, priests 47, religious 10) Nigeria, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Jos and the diocese of Shendam, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Jos.

- appointed Rev. Michael Gobal Gokum of the clergy of Jos as first bishop of the new diocese of Pankshin, Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Kadyis, Nigeria in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He studied for a licentiate in ecumenism at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest of the parishes of “St. Mary's” in Tafawa Balewa, “St. Theresa's” in Bwari, and “Murumba” in Igu; president of the archdiocesan catechetical commission and chaplain of the Catholic Women Association; and priest of the parishes of “Immaculate Conception” and “Sts. Peter and Paul”. He is currently administrator of the “Our Lady Queen of Nigeria” pro-Cathedral of Abuja, dean of the Garki deanery, archdiocesan director for the teaching of the Catechism and chaplain for the youth of the archdiocese.


Vatican City, 18 March 2014 (VIS) – We inform our readers that tomorrow, 19 March, Solemnity of St. Joseph patron of the Universal Church, no VIS bulletin will be transmitted. Service will resume on Thursday, 20 March.
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