(Vatican Radio) Thursday 11 June was the Holy See’s “National Day” at Expo Milan 2015, the theme of which is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.
Vatican authorities and Milan’s Archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Scola, were present at Expo for a series of events celebrating the Holy See’s presence at the International Exposition, a presence that highlights the value of the Catholic Church’s contribution in “feeding the planet” and providing “energy for life” in every sense of the word.
But the Holy See is present at Expo every day of the six-month long Exposition with its very own yellow and white Pavilion.
The leitmotiv of the Pavilion has been chosen from the Gospel and is written, in 12 different languages on the external walls of the building. It reads: “Not by bread alone” and “Give us our bread today”.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni visited Expo 2015 in Milan and spent some time at the Holy See Pavilion where a guide pointed out the strong symbolic relevance of food and how the creators’ of the Pavilion have focused on its deeply social and collective significance as well.
Take a brief tour of the Pavilion with Linda Bordoni:
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Thursday 11 June was the Holy See’s “National Day” at Expo Milan 2015, the theme of which is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. Vatican authorities and Milan’s Archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Scola, were present at Expo for a series of events celebrating the Holy See’s presence at the International Exposition, a presence that…
(Vatican Radio) Journey, service and giving freely of oneself: true Christian witness encompasses all of these characteristics. That’s what Pope Francis stressed in his Homily at Santa Marta Thursday. The Pope stressed that followers of Jesus are called to serve and to proclaim the Gospel freely – and not to be deceived by the belief that Salvation comes through riches.
In his Homily, the Pope drew inspiration from the Gospel passage in which Jesus sends out his disciples to proclaim the Good News. A disciple of the Lord, he said, is called to set out on a journey that is not a “stroll” but a mission to proclaim the Gospel and spread the good news of Salvation.
Announce the Good News through an inner journey
This, he added, “is the task Jesus gives to his disciples. If a disciple stays still and doesn’t go out, he does not give back to others what he has received in Baptism; he is not a true disciple of Jesus. He lacks the missionary; he can’t get out of himself [to be able] to bring something good to others “:
“The journey of the disciple of Jesus is to go beyond [the limits] to bring this good news. But there is another pathway for the disciple of Jesus: the inner journey, the path within, the path of the disciple who seeks the Lord every day, through prayer, in meditation.”
If the disciple does not continuously seek God in this way, the Pope said, the Gospel that he takes to others will be weak, watered down – a Gospel with no strength.
A disciple of Jesus who does not serve others is not Christian
“This dual journey,” the Pope said, “is the double path that Jesus wants from his disciples.” It also requires service, the Pope stressed. “A disciple who does not serve others is not Christian. The disciple has to do what Jesus preached in those two pillars of Christianity: the Beatitudes and the ‘protocol’ on which we shall be judged, Matthew (chapter) 25.” These two pillars, he stressed, correctly “frame” evangelical service.
If a disciple is not journeying to serve, there’s no reason for the journey, Pope Francis added. “If his life is not for service, there is no point in living the Christian life [it: non serve, per vivere, come Cristiano].”
One can become boastful and think, “’Yes, I am Christian; I am at peace, I confess, I go to Mass, I fulfill the commandments,’” the Pope cautioned. But the true disciple is called to service to the other: “service to Jesus in the sick, the imprisoned, the hungry, those with no shirt on their back,” the Pope said. Jesus wants this of us because He is to be found in them: “Service to Christ in others.”
Serve freely vs the deceitfulness of riches
Pope Francis then recalled Jesus’ words to His disciples, “Freely you have received, freely [you must] give.” “The journey of service is free,” the Pope stressed, “because we have received Salvation for free, pure grace, none of us has bought salvation, none of us has deserved it. It [comes to us through] pure grace of the Father in Jesus Christ, in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ”:
“It ‘s sad when you find Christians who forget this Word of Jesus:’ Freely you have received, freely give’,” the Pope added. “It’s sad when you find Christian communities – whether it be parishes, religious congregations, dioceses – which forget this ‘gratuity’ because behind this…there is the deception [to assume] that salvation comes from riches, from human power.”
Pope Francis summed up his Homily with these three key words: “ Journey , as a sending off to announce [the Gospel]. Service : the life of a Christian is not for himself; it is for others, as was the life of Jesus.” And the third word, the Pope noted, is “ Gratuity” or “Freely:”
“Our hope is in Jesus Christ [so that He] gives us such hope as [that which] never disappoints. ” But, he cautioned, “when hope is in how comfortable the journey is, or the hope is in a selfish desire to get things for oneself and not to serve others or when hope is in riches or in the small securities of this world, all this collapses. The Lord himself makes it collapse.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
Vatican City, 11 June 2015 (VIS) – The right to food, the problem of waste, the impact of the market on hunger, the primacy of agricultural development, water issues, land grabbing, and dependence on external aid were the central themes of the address given this morning by Pope Francis to the 450 participants at the 39th Conference of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), whom he received in audience in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
“ Faced with the poverty of many of our brothers and sisters,” said the Pope, “sometimes I think that the issue of hunger and agricultural development has now become one of the many problems in this time of crisis. … Our tendency to ‘defect’ when faced with difficult issues is human,” but “we must respond to the imperative of access to necessary food is a right for all. Human rights permit no exclusions. Certainly, we can take comfort knowing that the number of hungry persons in 1992, 1.2 million, has been reduced even though the world population has grown. However, there is little point to noting the numbers or even projecting a series of concrete commitments and recommendations to be implemented in policies and investments if we neglect the obligation to ‘eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition in the world’.”
“ Many are worried about statistics regarding waste: a third of food produced is included under this point,” observed the pontiff. “ Reducing waste is essential, as is reflection on the non-alimentary use of agricultural products, which go in large amounts to animal feed or to produce biofuels. Certainly we must ensure increasingly healthy environmental conditions, but can we keep excluding some?It is necessary to raise the awareness of all countries regarding the type of nutrition adopted, and this varies depending on the latitudes. … But, both in quality and quantity, the situation of uncertainty determined by the weather, by increased demand, and price uncertainty weigh down the situation.”
“ We must also ask ourselves: How much does the market, with its rules, impact world hunger? Of the studies you have made, it has been shown that, since 2008, the price of food has changed trends. It doubled, then stabilized, but with higher values than the previous period. Such volatile prices impede the poorest from making plans or keeping a minimum nutrition. The causes are many. We are rightly concerned with climate change but we cannot forget financial speculation. An example is the prices of wheat, rice, corn, soy, … sometimes linked to performance funds and therefore, the higher the price the more the fund earns. Here as well, we must take another path, convincing ourselves that the products of the land have a value that we can all ‘sacred’ because they are the fruit of the daily labor of persons, families, and communities of farmers.”
“ The purpose of the FAO includes the working of the land, fisheries, livestock, forests,” recalled Pope Francis. “This development must be at the center of economic activity …this means supporting effective resilience, specifically reinforcing communities’ capacities to cope with crises ― natural ones or those caused by human action ―and paying attention to the different needs. Thus it will be possible to pursue a decent standard of living. This commitment includes other critical points. First, it seems difficult to accept the general resignation, disinterest, and even absence of so many, even of states. A times there is the sense that hunger is an unpopular topic, an insoluble problem that can’t be dealt with in a legislative or presidential term and therefore can’t guarantee consensus. The reasons that lead to limiting the contributions of ideas, technology, expertise, and funding lie in the unwillingness to make binding commitments seeing that we hide behind the question of the world economic crisis and the idea that there is hunger in all countries. … But then it is forgotten that, if poverty in one country is a social problem that can find solutions, in other contexts it is a social problem and social policies are not enough to address it. This attitude may change if we put solidarity at the heart of international relations, transposing the vocabulary of policy options to a policy of the other.”
The Pope also noted the needs of educating persons regarding a proper nutrition… “We know that in the West the problem is high consumption and waste. In the South, however, it is necessary to encourage local production to ensure nutrition. In many countries with ‘chronic hunger’, [local produce] is replaced by foreign food, perhaps initially through assistance. But emergency aid is not enough and does not always reach the right hands. It creates a dependence on large producers and, if the country lacks the financial means, then the population winds up not eating and hunger grows.”
“ Climate change also makes us think of the forced displacement of populations and the many humanitarian tragedies caused by lack of resources, particularly water, which is already a source of conflict that is expected to increase. It isn’t enough to assert that there is a right to water without making the effort to achieve sustainable consumption of this good and to eliminate any waste. … Besides water, land use also remains a serious problem. Ever more troubling is the seizure of arable land by transnational companies and states, which not only deprives farmers of an essential commodity, it also directly affects countries’ sovereignty. There are too many areas where the foods produced go to foreign countries and the local population is impoverished twice, since they have neither food nor land. … We know that the world’s food production is largely the work of family farms. Therefore it is important,” the Pope concluded, “that the FAO strengthen its partnerships and projects in favor of family businesses, and encourage states to equitably regulate land use and ownership. This may help eliminate the inequalities that are now at the center of international attention.”…
Vatican City, 11 June 2015 (VIS) – President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin was received in audience by the Holy Father yesterday afternoon according to a press release from the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J.
The private meeting held in the library of the Apostolic Palace began approximately at 6:15pm and lasted some 50 minutes. Afterwards there was a presentation of the president’s entourage and an exchange of gifts. President Putin offered the Pope an image of the famous Church of Christ the Savior which the Holy Father reciprocated with a medallion by artist Guido Veroi that represented the angel of peace—an invitation to build a world of solidarity and peace based on justice—and a copy of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
As foreseen, given the current global state of affairs, the meeting was mainly devoted to the conflict in the Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.
Regarding the situation in the Ukraine, the Holy Father affirmed that a great and sincere effort is necessary to achieve peace. He agreed on the importance of re-establishing a climate of dialogue and that all parties must commit themselves to enforcing the Minsk Accords. It is also essential to address the serious humanitarian situation, in particular guaranteeing access to humanitarian workers and, with the contribution of all parties, a progressive easing of tensions in the region.
On the other hand, as regards the conflicts of the Middle East, regarding the territories of Syria and Iraq, the common and urgent idea of seeking peace with the concrete participation of the international community, at the same time ensuring the necessary conditions of life to all area of society, including religious minorities, Christians in particular was substantially confirmed.
At the same time as the meeting with President Putin, a meeting was held between Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation , Sergey Lavrov during which the topics of the conflict in the Ukraine and the worrying situation in the Middle East were also discussed….