VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Although Vatican City is small, it’s not “insignificant,” said Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo upon announcing plans for the official celebration of the 80th anniversary of the state’s foundation.
The president of the Governorate of Vatican City State said this today in a press conference in which he unveiled the program for the celebrations, which will include a concert — to be attended by Benedict XVI — an exposition and an academic conference.
The Lateran Pacts, which were signed Feb. 11, 1929, gave origin to the establishment of Vatican City State.
The exposition — titled “1929-2009: Eighty Years of Vatican City State” — will be held from Feb. 11 to May 10 in the Charlemagne Wing, located at the end of the left colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.
The cardinal explained that the exposition will be divided into five sections: the first concerns the Vatican before the foundation of the city state; the second is dedicated to Pius XI, who was Pope when the pacts were signed; the third details the Lateran Pacts; the fourth shows the physical construction of the city state; and the fifth is dedicated to each of the six pontiffs who succeeded Pius XI.
Cardinal Lajolo said the academic congress will take place Feb. 12-14 and will be titled “A Small Territory for a Great Mission.” The congress will be held at two separate sites: the Conciliation Hall of the Lateran Palace, where the pacts themselves were signed in 1929, and the New Synod Hall in the Vatican.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, will preside at the first day of the congress, which will analyze such topics such as the independence of the Holy Father and Vatican City, the institutions of the Holy See, the image of the Holy See in the public eye, Pius XI as founder and architect of Vatican City, the difficult years of World War II and the post-war period, Vatican reforms and the contribution of Pope John Paul II.
The concert will be held in Paul VI Hall at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12. Our Lady’s Choral Society of Dublin Cathedral and the RTE Concert Orchestra of Dublin will play Handel’s “Messiah.”