Doesn’t God dwell here anymore?



29-30 November 2018

Decommissioning places of worship and integrated management of ecclesiastical cultural heritage

Pontifical Gregorian University – Aula Magna – (Piazza della Pilotta, 4 – Rome)

During the European Year for Cultural Heritage 2018, the Pontifical Council for Culture (Department for Cultural Heritage), the Italian Episcopal Conference – Ufficio Nazionale per i beni culturali ecclesiastici e l’edilizia di culto and the Pontifical Gregorian University – Facoltà di Storia e Beni Culturali della Chiesa – Dipartimento dei Beni Culturali della Chiesa organized a two-day international conference.

The first day was dedicated to the serious and urgent matter of the decommissioning of churches and their new use. On the second day attention was given to the management and promotion of the ecclesiastical cultural heritage as a diocesan pastoral activity.

While the mornings of the conference were open to all, the afternoons were reserved for exchange between delegates of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe, North America and Oceania on issues of shared concern.These countries face similar social conditions and share analogous problems in the management of cultural heritage.

The Acts of the Conference are being prepared. A videoplaylist is available here.


Thursday 29 November 2018

9:00      Registration

9:30      Institutional greetings

Rev. P. Nuno da Silva Gonçalves SJ (Rector Pontifical Gregorian University)

S.E.R. Mons. Stefano Russo (Secretary General Italian Bishops Conference)

H. Em. Card. Gianfranco Ravasi (President, Pontifical Council for Culture)

Reading of the Message of the Holy Father

Day One of the Conference: Dismissing and reusing worship buildings

10:00    Sociological and pastoral reading of the phenomenon of the decommissioning of churches

Luca Diotallevi (Università di Roma Tre)

10:40    Reduction to profane use of churches and current challenges

Paweł Malecha (Supremo Tribunale della Segnatura Apostolica, Vaticano)

11:15    Coffee Break

            Inauguration of a thematic exhibition in the atrium of the university

11:45    Innovative solutions for the decommissioned churches

Thomas Coomans (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

12:15    Reflections on ecclesiastical movable heritage no longer in use

Maud de Beauchesne-Cassanet (Conférence des évêques de France, Départment d’Art Sacré, Paris)

12:45    Discussion

13:00    Lunch break


Day One of the conference of national directors

15:00    Discussion and approval of Guidelines for the decommissioning and reusing of worship buildings

16:00    Presentation of national experiences (1st part)

18:00    End of the first day


Friday 30 November 2018


Day Two of the Conference: Management for the integral development of cultural goods

9:30      Introductory Lecture: A pastoral project through cultural heritage

Valerio Pennasso (Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, Direttore dell’Ufficio per i beni culturali ecclesiastici e l’edilizia di culto, Roma)

10:00   The experience of the diocese of Padua

Andrea Nante (Direttore del Museo diocesano di Padova)

10:15    The experience of the diocese of Trapani

Liborio Palmeri (Delegato Vescovile per la ricerca, le arti e il dialogo culturale, Trapani)

10:30    Religious tourism: the experience of “Catalonia Sacra”

Josep Maria Riba Farrés (Director del Museu Episcopal de Vic)

11:00    Coffee Break

11:30    Intercultural and interreligious dialogue through cultural heritage

Albert Gerhards (Universität Bonn)

12:00    Formation of personnel and engagement with the community: the Portuguese experience

Sandra Costa Saldanha (Conferência Episcopal Portuguesa, Secretariado Nacional para os Bens Culturais da Igreja, Lisboa)

12:30    Discussion

12:45    Lunch Break

II Day of the Conference of National Directors

15:00    Presentation of national experiences (2nd part)

17:30    Conclusions and End of Conference

Dio non abita più qui?