We live in a time of uncertainty. We like to think that we live in a peaceful, ordered society, but again and again we have discovered that the darkness of blind violence can envelop us at any time, like in Newtown or in Boston. We take comfort in our general prosperity, but we have an uneasy feeling that the current economic crisis, with its high un-employment rate, is different from others in the past, and that things may get worse rather than better. We cherish our freedom, but we worry about the manipulation of democracy by powerful, apparently invincible forces. Such uncertainty seems to cast a cynical doubt on the ideals that define a human culture: the exaltation of the person, the pursuit of happiness, the commitment to build, the pride of belonging to a people.

How can we fight back?

“When... the grip of a hostile society tightens around us to the point of threatening the vivacity of our expression, and when a cultural and social hegemony tends to penetrate the heart, stirring up our already natural uncertainties, then the time of the person has come.” (Fr. Luigi Giussani)

What is the person? Who are we, really? What do we cry for? Who can answer?

New York Encounter invites you to a weekend of public discussions, exhibits, presentations and live performances exploring the nature of the person and the flourishing of that person in belonging to a people. Our hope is that New York Encounter itself can give witness to the life of a people whose heart has been reawakened by an encounter with a human presence.

Readings on the 2014 theme