The Vatican has launched a Courtyard of the Gentiles initiative to promote dialogue between believers and non-believers, reports Zenit.
As part of the plan, the Pontifical Council for Culture is planning three colloquia and a youth party in Paris.
The Courtyard of the Gentiles, proposed by Benedict XVI in an address to the Roman Curia at the end of 2009, is "a new permanent Vatican structure to promote dialogue and encounter" and will be be inaugurated with the three colloquia in Paris on the theme "Religion, Enlightenment, Common Reason."
The first will be held on March 24 at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, under UNESCO's patronage.
The next morning, another will take place at the Sorbonne. Then, on the afternoon of March 25, the third will be held at the Institut de France.
At the conclusion of these colloquia, a roundtable discussion will be held at the College des Bernardins.
The inauguration will also include a party, targeted for youth although open to all, in the evening of March 25 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame courtyard.
The party will center on the theme "Into the Courtyard of the Unknown" and will feature artistic creations, music, drama, light shows, and time for meeting and reflection.
The cathedral will be opened for anyone who wants to participate in a prayer vigil and meditation.
In speaking of the idea, Pope Benedict had referred to the "Court of the Gentiles," a space in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem that was not reserved for the Jews, but rather was open to any person independent of his culture or religion.
"I think that today too the Church should open a sort of 'Court of the Gentiles' in which people might in some way latch on to God, without knowing him and before gaining access to his mystery, at whose service the inner life of the Church stands," he said.
Vatican plans colloquia, party for non-believers (Zenit)
Screenshot from video UNESCO in Paris will host the first meeting of the 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' on YouTube