Funds from Expo Milan pavilion for refugee farm in Jordan

Donated by the Holy See pavilion at Expo.

Funds raised by the Holy See pavilion at Expo Milan 2015 were dedicated at the wish of Pope Francis to a “Garden of Mercy” and olive farm in the Jordanian capital Amman.

In a ceremony attended by the apostolic nunciature (embassy of the Holy See), the 10,000 sqm plot, planted with 600 olive trees, was created with offerings left by Expo visitors and inaugurated last week. The small, sustainable farm is providing work for Iraqi refugees, of whom Jordan is currently sheltering some 130,000.

Vatican Caritas Jordan

Apart from the 15 refugees working full-time on the farm, another 200 will be able to follow professional courses in carpentry, agriculture and food production, while a further 500 will be employed in seasonal work.

The Apostolic Nuncio (ambassador), Msgr. Alberto Ortega Martin, told media after the ceremony that the garden is "fruit of the charity of the Pope," who wanted to allocate the funds raised during Expo to promote job opportunities for displaced Iraqis in Jordan.

The garden, added the Vatican diplomat, will support "the common work of Christians and Muslims," giving concrete witness of the words pronounced by the Pope during his trip to Jordan in 2014: "Christians [...] together with your Muslim countrymen want to contribute to the society in which they live.” This is why the garden is to be a pure "place of dialogue and encounter" between different religions, he added.