“VATICAN INSIDER” PROFILES THE VIA LUCIS
Tune in to Vatican Insider this weeked for a special on the Via Lucis! What is the Via Lucis? It’s a new and relatively unknown practice and I’m delighted to profile this for you! I’ve asked a number of people – priests and lay people – if they knew of it and most everyone said ‘no’. Tune in this weekend and then, when people ask you “What is the Via Lucis?” you will have the answer!
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“GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD”: PAPAL MESSAGE TO FOOD EXPO
Pope Francis, in a video message at noon Friday, addressed the opening of the six-month long Milan Expo 2015 which this year is focusing on the theme: “Feeding the planet – energy for life.” (photo: lbtimes.com)
In that message Pope Francis said, “I would like to make myself the spokesman for all our brothers and sisters, Christians and also non-Christians, as children whom God loves and for whom He gave His life: He broke the bread, which is the flesh of his Son become Man; He taught us to ask God the Father, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ The Expo is a propitious occasion to globalize solidarity. Let us not waste it, but make the very most of it.”
The official website – www.expo2015.org – notes that Expo Milan will offer 184 days of events with 145 participating countries to 20 million expected visitors at an exhibition site of 1 million square meters. The event runs from May 1 to October 31, 2015. Hosted by the most commercial and cosmopolitan city of Italy – Milan – Expo 2015 revolves around a key theme for the Earth: “Feeding the Planet, energy for life.”
The Universal Exposition 2015 hopes, say organizers, to become the largest event ever organized about food and nutrition. For six months, Milan will be a global showcase in which countries will show the best of their technologies to give a concrete answer to a vital need: producing healthy and safe food, enough for all peoples, while respecting the planet and its balance. Participants also hope to exchange ideas and share solutions to the problem of food security.
And – no small thing! – visitors will have the opportunity to discover and taste some of the world’s most delicious foods!
The Vatican has a pavilion at this Expo on the theme “Not by Bread Alone. At the Lord’s Table with all Mankind.”
The Holy See states on the Expo website that, “’Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’. From this first sentence of the Gospel, is a message that the Holy See wishes to send out during its participation at Expo Milano 2015.
“Food is a primary value for mankind, forever the subject of rituals, symbols, stories, calendars and rules, and also a tool for understanding one’s identity and building relationships with the world, the Creation, time and history.
“The Holy See aims to focus visitors’ attention on the strong symbolic relevance of feeding, and on its potential for anthropological development. Its potential is deeply social and collective, yet unfortunately, is often interpreted negatively as a reprimand for neglect and injustice.
“Food is therefore not only portrayed as nourishment of the body, but as a gesture of nurturing, a meal and a convivium: a moment of encounter and communion, education and growth. This sharply contrasts with the ‘culture of waste’ which increasingly influences today’s society, fuelling the terrible hardships of injustice and poverty.
“Through its pavilion, spread over a total area of 747 square meters, the Holy See looks to offer its visitors a space for reflection on issues that persist today, related to food and access to food. Such issues highlight how the anthropological act of offering food is at the heart of both Christian experience, and the cultural and spiritual thinking it has generated within our history.”
The pavilion has been funded by the Holy See, the Italian Bishops’ Conference and the Milan archdiocese in equal parts for a total of €3 million. Visitors can admire two artworks, Tintoretto’s Last Supper from the church of San Trovaso in Venice and a Flemish tapestry designed by Rubens from the diocesan museum in Ancona.
CARITAS REPORTS ON DEVASTATION FROM NEPAL EARTHQUAKE
I received the following update today from Patrick Nicholson at the Vatican offices of Caritas Internationalis concerning the devastation in Nepal following the horrific earthquake that struck this Asian nation on Saturday, April 25:
Caritas aid missions are reporting that villages in remote areas of Nepal have been utterly devastated by the earthquake. (Caritas photo)
Speaking from Pokhari danda in Gorkha, 15 km from the epicentre, Stefen Teplan of Caritas Germany said, “60 percent of the village is destroyed. More than food and water, what is needed most is temporary shelter before the monsoon sets in.”
The full scale of the disaster is becoming clear. The death toll from the 7.9 magnitude earthquake increased to 6000 with thousands still missing.
Over 130,000 houses have been destroyed and 85,000 houses partially damaged. There are 30 out of 75 districts in the country affected. This includes mountain and hilly areas, in areas where rural populations are dispersed.
Caritas has reached 4000 families in the Kathmandu Valley with plastic sheets, blankets and food. Teams have also reached some of the worst affected rural areas of Gorkha, Sindapalchowk, Nuwakot and Kavre.
“Each of these teams is staffed by experience experts,” said Fr. Pius Perumana SJ, director of Caritas Nepal. “They can evaluate what people need most.”
The priority is shelter.
“The people who have lost their homes are exposed to the rain and cold weather at night. They really need international solidarity,” said Angan Baj, Emergency Response Manager for Caritas India, who is with the team visiting villages in Gorkha.
Caritas will also be providing food, clean water and sanitation and counselling.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy says Caritas has been flooded with donations and solidarity from across the globe. Caritas members worldwide have pledged 3 million euros in the first days following the quake.
The Caritas website is: http://www.caritas.org/
An April 30 United Nations update on the Nepal quake said some $8 million is urgently needed to help disaster-struck Nepalese farmers rapidly recover lost agricultural inputs and resume preparations for the imminent rice sowing season, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.
“There is a critical window of opportunity to help crop producers plant in time to have a rice harvest this year and regain their self-sufficiency,” FAO Representative in Nepal, Somsak Pipoppinyo, said in a statement to the press. “At the same time, we need to do all we can to preserve vital livestock assets which provide affected families with much needed income and nutrition.”
Farmers who miss the planting season that is expected to start late May onwards will be unable to harvest rice – the country’s staple food — again until late 2016. This, together with likely losses of food stocks and wheat and maize harvests, would “severely” limit food supplies and incomes in the South Asian country, where around two-thirds of people rely on agriculture for their livelihood, FAO said.