Nearly Half a Million Visit Holy See Water Expo

Zaragoza Event Ends After 93 Days of Activity

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ZARAGOZA, Spain, SEPT. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Nearly a half million visitors passed through the Holy See's pavilion at the international exposition on "Water and Sustainable Development" that closed this week in Spain.



The Expo Zaragoza 2008 opened in June, bringing some 130 participants from various countries, autonomous communities and businesses to demonstrate their proposals in relation to water and sustainable development.

The Holy See's booth offered a reflection on the divine and human elements of water. One of its main attractions was the last work of art completed by El Greco, "The Baptism of Christ." Thirty-eight other works were also displayed.

During the 93 days of the expo, the booth was visited by 453,168 visitors, though it was one of the smallest pavilions available. Visitor surveys gave it an average 8.9 out of a possible 10 points.

Among the personalities who visited the pavilion were various Spanish government officials, including Spanish Queen Sofía. Several members of the Church hierarchy also paid a visit, including Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers; Cardinal John Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; and Cardinals Antonio Cañizares and Carlos Amigo, archbishops of Toledo and Seville, respectively.

In statements to ZENIT, several of the visitors said they were grateful for the opportunity to visit a small adoration chapel with the Blessed Sacrament after they visited the Holy See's display.

In a message sent earlier this month to Cardinal Martino, who represented the Holy See at the Day of the Holy See at the expo, Benedict XVI noted that the right to water is based on human dignity and said that its use must be "rational and supportive, the result of a balanced synergy between the public and private sectors."