NYE/ Freedom bigger than New York

Riro Maniscalco

The New York Encounter is starting today. RIRO MANISCALCO talks about its history, how it has developed from the Rimini Meeting, and on this year’s theme: The experience of freedom

Pubblicazione: venerdì 18 gennaio 2013 - Ultimo aggiornamento: martedì 22 gennaio 2013, 11.48

Four years ago, with a group of friends, we got together to do something greater than ourselves. This thing, in just a short time, has become "much" bigger than us. Finding oneself doing things much larger than oneself is beautiful and liberating because you know that you are not capable of doing it, and yet you are a protagonist of it. The adventure of what we call the New York Encounter was born this way, brandishing with one hand the phrase of St. Paul that invites us to sift through everything and retain that which has value, and with the other that of Benedict XVI, who tells us that the intelligence of faith must become the knowledge of reality. These are the weapons with which to fight the battle in this year's theme: freedom, or better, the experience of freedom. This is quite a challenge if we think that we live in a country that calls itself "of the free," and a city where, watching over, between land and sea, is a statue of "Liberty."

Why do we do this? As I always like to say, gratuitously we received, gratuitously we give back. At least we try. This is the desire. The gift, what we have received and what we want to give back, is the seed of faith. We try to do so with eyes wide open towards what is happening in this world, really seeing it, looking in it for signs of Hope, of Good, reflections of Beauty. We do this to understand what this small, mysterious, fragile and at the same time invincible seed of faith has to say about this reality.

In one weekend we put everything into play. We plant a tiny seed in the heart of an immeasurable town, where it seems that there is already everything, that everything has already been seen, heard and experienced. Yet for four years, the New York Encounter, with its lectures, exhibitions, shows, its more than two hundred volunteers and thousands of visitors has amazed everyone, and first of all we ourselves. New York is also surprised because the Encounter always brings something new, unknown or unrecognized. How is it possible? These are the same things that amaze those who go to the Meeting of Rimini, and it is right and good that it is so, because the seed is the same.

As tiring as the days of this weekend can be - including back-to-back events, meetings with distinguished guests, and a multitude of mishaps and problems to be solved on the spot with the few resources we have -, I expect a lot from them. I really expect a lot, and not only the fulfillment of the work that the dozen of us have been pursuing now throughout the year.

NYE/ Freedom bigger than New York