Tourism Seen as a Means for Evangelization

Directors of Pastoral Care in Europe Meet

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Tourism can become a suitable instrument to promote a new evangelization, say national directors of pastoral care for tourists in Europe.



Sixteen directors reached that consensus when they met Monday and Tuesday at a gathering convoked by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. The meeting was held at the council's headquarters.

The directors met to discuss and exchange experiences in an effort to proclaim Christ better to European tourists, to those who visit Europe, and to all those who, in one way or another, are involved in tourism.

The theme of their meeting was "Tourism, a Transversal Reality: Pastoral Aspects."

The meeting -- held two years after the last international congress on pastoral care in tourism, in Thailand -- was also attended by representatives of some dicasteries and organizations of the Roman Curia and the Holy See's permanent observer to the World Tourism Organization.

In his opening address, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, said: "When we speak of 'pastoral aspects' we refer to the Church's very mission, which is to proclaim Jesus Christ, dead and risen, for our salvation, in the reality and complexity of God's today that we are living."

"The new missionary drive is also expressed in the creativity manifested in the responses to the new challenges, ever increasing, which tourism presents to us," the cardinal said.

"Surely," he added, "it will be important therefore to look at the path undertaken by the different local Churches in Europe, transversally, in attempting to give an evangelical answer to this 'Areopagus of modern times' that is tourism."