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Can reality make us happy? A Catholic event in NYC takes on the question

Saturday, January 7, 2017 3:18
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New York City, N.Y., Jan 7, 2017 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- “Reality has never betrayed me.”

Those were among the words of Monsignor Luigi Giussani on his deathbed.

The priest, who as a theologian and the founder of the international Catholic movement Communion and Liberation, was convinced that God and his Catholic faith could be found within the realities of everyday life.

The question of whether happiness, and God, can truly be found in reality is the theme of the upcoming New York Encounter event, the movement’s 9th annual cultural event in the United States.

Communion and Liberation (CL) is a movement in the Church which has “the purpose of forming its members in Christianity in order to make them coworkers in the Church’s mission in all areas of society,” according to the movement’s website. It was founded in Italy in 1954 by Fr. Giussani.

“We all have the intuition that life, even with all its hardships, is fundamentally good,” the event’s website reads. “And yet, we have a hard time relating to many aspects of life: family, work, politics, society, even our own bodies and the very food we eat.”

“What are we missing? Why do we often perceive reality as disappointing? What can help us reconcile with reality and engage life as it is?”

Those are the questions the Encounter will explore said Maurizio Maniscalco, the event’s president.

“Is there anything ‘more real than reality’? And yet the very word ‘reality’ sounds empty, or even abstract…Life will always be a mystery with its joy and pain, hopes and shattered dreams. Is there a path, a destination, a destiny that keeps it all together?” he told CNA.

The Encounter is set to take place Jan. 13-15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City, is free, requires no registration, and is open to people from all walks of life.

“New York Encounter is just a human encounter that hopes to break the walls we’ve built between us, in ourselves, and between us and what surrounds us, between us and reality as it happens if it doesn’t coincide with what we had in mind,” Maniscalco said.

The Encounter will explore these question about reality with speakers and performances from people of various fields and walks of life – artists, actors, medical professionals, priests, astronauts and businessmen. Some of this year’s presenters include Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York Times editorialist David Brooks, and Matt Malone, S.J., President & Editor in Chief of America Media. It will also feature photography exhibits as well as exhibits on the life of founder Msgr. Giussani.

Also new this year is the New York Encounter app, which is available for download both through the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

It’s one thing to try to explain Encounter, but it’s really best to “come and see,” Maniscalco told CNA.

“The Encounter is one of those things that is a little hard to explain. You have to experience it, you have to ‘Come and See,’” he said.

“Three days of dialogue, challenge, beauty to launch us back into our daily life with curiosity and desire. Come and see!”

More information about the event can be found at:


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