Sweden, Denmark, Portugal/Spain, Poland

Sweden, “Summer churches”: tourism and faith The culture and heritage department of the Swedish Church has drawn up and put online a detailed map of 333 churches that will remain open during the summer. The initiative “Summer churches” aims at promoting the awareness that “Church heritage belongs to all of us”, said the promoters of the initiative. “Our churches bear witness to Christian faith but they also testify to the history of our country and to the local history of the site where the church was erected. Thus next summer many places of worship will remain open in order to provide an opportunity to discover cultural heritage by taking part in a religious celebration or in a concert”. The user-friendly guide provides a list of approximately 30 churches that will be the venues of “geocaching”, a kind of “digital treasure hunt” that will take place in real life with the support of map reference points and free cell-phone apps enabling users to reach the sites where the logbooks are hidden, on which participants in the treasure hunt are invited to leave their comments and thoughts. Denmark: Christian communities at the popular festival “Between Sky and Earth” is the festival that this year is animating Allinge, a town on the Danish island of Borholm, ongoing until Sunday, June 15th. Last year the initiative attracted over 60,000 visitors. The program of the fourth “Folkemødet”, focused on Danish political and social life, features two thousand events coordinated by 600 different bodies. The Catholic Church, along with 14 religious confessions present in the country, will take part in the festival with a set of initiatives that will be held inside a pavilion. Religions in the public sphere; religious freedom in Danish foreign policy; the fight on human trafficking and Denmark, are we doing the right thing? These are some of the issues at the centre of the debates of Church, religious dignitaries in Denmark along with political representatives, held against the backdrop of concerts, prayer gatherings according to the different faiths. The churches pavilion will close on Sunday with a celebration of the Word animated by a gospel choir. The Catholic Church is also presents with its “mobile church” on the Central Square of Allinge. Portugal-Spain: meeting on digital networks The commissions in charge of coordinating the sector of social communications of the bishops conferences in Portugal and Spain gathered in Lisbon from June 9-11 (on the eve of the meeting of the spokespersons of the bishops conferences of Europe, promoted by CCEE in the same premises June 11 to 14) to examine the progress of the joint projects underway. The meeting, held in the seminar Nossa Senhora de Fatima in Alfragide, presented by Fernando Martínez Vallvey from the Salamanca University, and by the chief editor of the agency Ecclesia, Vatican correspondent, Octávio Carmo, was centered on the theme “Networks of People” with the purpose of promoting reflections on “social communication, understood as the tool of the culture of encounter”, to seek to discover challenges and examples presented by Pope Francis to this regard. In fact, referring to the message of the Holy Father for the World Day of Social Communications, monsignor Pio Alves, president of the Portuguese Bishops’ Communications Commission that the major Challenge of digital networks is “to promote the authentic encounter of people with other people”. “It is necessary to cultivate those behaviours and approaches that may facilitate authentic personal encounters, thereby decreasing the possibility of a communicative divide; pause and calmness; silence; patience; availability to give and receive”, concluded the auxiliary bishop of Oporto. Poland: “Sharing with a priest or a religious” In Rzeszow, in South-East Poland, some fifty priests and religious took part in the initiative “Share it with a priest or a religious” that will be held in the framework of the “Festival of faith” in the same town from June 18 to June 21. “Do you have a question? Do you want to speak about your problem? You mustn’t necessarily go to church!” It’s the invitation of the organizers that will set up chairs in several parts of the city where volunteers will wait to listen to their interlocutors from 3 to 5 pm. “Perhaps someone might be surprised seeing us in these public places”, said father Daniel Drozd, coordinator of the Festival – but perhaps precisely in that place someone else might be in need of support or just of sharing with us”. The initiative was already implemented a year ago during the first edition of the Festival, which, point out Fr Drozd, was met with much interest. We spoke of important issues with people who probably never would have shared them in church”. The Festival of Faith was organized for the first time in 2013 alongside with the feast of the Corpus Domini, that in Poland is a festive day.

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