Holy See to Join Water Expo in Spain

Booth to Offer Reflection on Human and Divine Elements

VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See will participate in an international expo on “Water and Sustainable Development” with a booth offering a reflection on the divine and human dimensions of water.

This was announced today at a press conference presenting the Holy See’s role in “Expo Zaragoza 2008,” due to be held Jun 14-Sept. 14 in Zaragoza, Spain.

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace, expressed his hopes that the expo “will provide an opportunity to explore and raise awareness of water in the life of the world.”

“This will be important for two reasons,” he said. “First, the social doctrine of the Church recognizes the nature of water as life-giving. […] Satisfying the needs of all, especially of those who live in poverty, must guide the use of water and of the services connected with it.

“The second reason takes us back to our faith. At our baptism, water was used as a sign of cleansing and new life. […] Water is life giving — both physical and spiritual; it is through water that we are invited to share in the life of Christ.”

After recalling that one of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals is to halve the number of people unable to access safe drinking water, the cardinal emphasized that “clean water and safe sanitation are acknowledged as essential elements in the lives of every human being.”

Visitors to the pavilion will follow a guided tour divided into three stages.

The first presents water as the source of life; the second contains a collection of works of art associated with water and its role in the history of salvation; and the third is dedicated to the importance of solidarity, recalling that many people have only limited access to water and underlining the need to work together to solve this problem.

The Holy See will also participate in other activities promoted by Expo Zaragoza 2008. Its main contribution will be a July 10-12 international ecological congress on the theme: “The Ecological Question: The Life of Man in the World.”

The congress is being organized by the Archdiocese of Zaragoza and the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace.

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