The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Tomb by Eugene Burnand via Wikimedia Commons

A Joy that Takes on Flesh

He has spoken at the Meeting five times, and he will be in Rimini once again. ”It’s a relationship that becomes integrated with the work we do every day at Notre Dame.”
Luca Fiore

“I don’t know of, in the entire world, an event comparable to the Meeting.” Professor O. Carter Snead’s reaction to the gathering at Rimini is a mix of wonder and incredulousness. A legal expert in bioethics and Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame University, he has spoken at the Meeting five times, beginning in 2008, and will be in the Fiera once again this year. Even with a Calabrian mother from San Giovanni in Fiore (Cosenza), Carter Snead is 100% American, used to the wide open spaces on that side of the ocean. And yet, first arriving in the vast pavilions in Rimini, he felt very small. “The first thing that impresses you about the Meeting is how big it is, the out-of-scale proportions. So many places, so many people closed within the cavernous Fiera for an entire week…” And yet, the scholar admits, “you understand quickly that the crowds and immensity of the place are not the most interesting aspect. Over time, what makes the biggest impression is the profound joy that animates the gathering. A joy that takes on flesh in the thousands of volunteers–young students, but accomplished professionals as well—who work to make the Meeting a reality.” Snead speaks of “a spirit of friendship, openness, service and enthusiasm for encounter,” that permeates the entire event. “On the cultural level, the performances and conferences are very stimulating. But it’s the memory of the people and the friendship that, when you leave, stays with you.”

Exchanging Invitations
Snead continues, “The Meeting, over the years, has become very important for me, not only from a personal point of view, but professional as well. It’s allowed me to meet extraordinary personalities from all over the world.” This richness of relationships convinced Prof. Snead to contribute to the Rimini festival (last year his Center sponsored an exhibit), and to bring a piece of the Meeting home with him to Notre Dame. “For the last few years, we’ve invited speakers I’ve met at the Meeting to our Fall Conference. Last year, for example, Fr. Julián Carrón came to speak about freedom. We’re happy to be able to collaborate, and we look forward to seeing this relationship grow and become integrated with the work we do every day at Notre Dame.”