The following is the message sent by the Holy Father Francis to the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), His Excellency Mr. Qu Dongyu, on the occasion of the Second World Food Forum 2022, taking place in Rome from 17 to 21 October:
Message of the Holy Father
To His Excellency
Mr. Qu Dongyu
Director-General of FAO
I extend my fraternal greetings to all those participating in the second edition of the World Food Forum and to those who are committed and striving every day to eradicate hunger and poverty in the world.
Food is fundamental to human life. Indeed, it shares in its sacredness and cannot be treated like any other commodity. Food is a concrete sign of the Creator’s goodness and the fruits of the earth. I am reminded of our grandparents and the respect they had for bread; they kissed it when they brought it to the table and did not allow anything to go to waste. Christ himself, in the Eucharist, became bread, living bread for the life of the world (cf. Jn 6:51).
Respecting food and according it the pre-eminent place it has in human life will only be possible if, in addition to concern for its production, availability and access, as well as for the technical measures of agricultural trade, we become aware that it is a gift of God of which we are merely custodians. As I have said in my other recent messages to your Organization, our first concern must focus on the human being as such, considered integrally and taking into account his or her real needs, in particular of those who lack the basic sustenance for survival.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this period of interconnected crises, the message of Christ, even for non-believers, demands not only that we feed, but give ourselves in service to others, recognizing and guaranteeing the centrality of the human person. This priority can only be safeguarded if we once again believe in the fraternity and solidarity that must inspire relations between individuals and between peoples.
I entrust to God Almighty the fruits of this meeting, so that the initiatives and decisions that contribute to the good and the future of all humanity may increase.
Vatican City, 17 October 2022