Culture & Religion
February Thu 10, 2011
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“Why is it useful for us to do this work today? Because we continue to live in the world after the Christian event and we have to face the particular problems in our history.” If these words of Father Julián Carrón, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, during the book presentation of The Religious Sense, a book written by Monsignor Luigi Giussani, are a proposal for a new way of living, the New York Encounter, a four-day cultural festival organized by friends in the Catholic lay ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, was the tangible proof that not only is it possible, but also better and more beautiful to live this way.
From the first talk on freedom and education given by John Garvey, president of Catholic University of America, to the closing of the Encounter with a presentation of the poetry of Giacomo Leopardi by Jonathan Galassi, Davide Rondoni, and Joseph Weiler, practically every aspect of the human experience was covered during this cultural festival. I didn’t think genetics and economics could be as beautiful as Chopin before the NY Encounter, and yet it was impossible for me to say otherwise after the exhibits and talks on these subjects.
What was striking, however, was that this entire initiative was not designed to function as an academic summit or an attempt to bring culture to the bourgeoisie, but rather to educate every human being in attendance to the needs of his or her heart. As a volunteer I felt very palpably the sheer greatness of this event. How is it that little over one hundred volunteers, mostly high school and college-aged, were able to provide the support necessary for an event attended by over 1,100 people? As Paolo Caimi, the volunteer coordinator, reminded us again and again, this was not an initiative created by our effort, but rather it was born out of our relationship with the Mystery and Christ’s love for us.
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