New York Encounter: “Crossing the Divide”

Tomorrow, the annual three-day event of meetings, exhibitions and performances kicks-off in the heart of the Big Apple. Here is Pope Francis' greeting to the New York Encounter and a taste of what awaits.
Luca Fiore

“On the occasion of the New York Encounter sponsored by Communion and Liberation, His Holiness Pope Francis sends cordial greetings and prayerful best wishes to all gathered for this annual meeting. His Holiness trusts that these days of dialogue and fellowship will promote that “culture of encounter”, so necessary in our times, in which people of good will are committed “to find points of agreement amid conflict, build bridges and make peace for the benefit of all” (Christus Vivit, 169). Upon the organizers and those taking part in the 2020 Encounter His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of wisdom, joy and peace.”

With this message, sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, the New York Encounter will be open February 14-16 at the Metropolitan Pavilion, with the theme "Crossing the Divide".

Friday 14 starts in the afternoon with a recital dedicated to the final verses of Dante's Inferno: "We climbed up, he first and I behind him […] Then we came forth, to see again the stars”, with music by Molly Morkoski and staged readings of The Divine Comedy by Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian at Yale University, as well as welcoming remarks by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. Then, in the evening, a performance entitled "The Girl from Hong Kong", which will pick up upon the contents of the exhibition from the last Rimini Meeting entitled "Bubbles, Pioneers and the Girl of Hong Kong".

On Saturday 15, the theme of the Encounter will be discussed in relation to different spheres: family, the economy, prisons, politics. Among the guests are J.D. Flynn, editor-in-chief of the Catholic News Agency; Jeanne Bishop, Cook County Public Defender; Fr. George Williams, chaplain for San Quentin State Prison death row; Chris Arnade, writer and photographer; Sohrab Ahmari, op-ed editor for the New York Post; Christine Emba, columnist for The Washington Post.

Finally, on Sunday, the pavilion will open with Mass, celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre, followed by a meeting entitled "What Can Free Us from Ideology?" with Fr. Julián Carrón, Ami Dar, founder and executive director of, and Aaron Riches, professor of Theology at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas. In the afternoon, among various other meetings, a roundtable entitled "Someone, Somewhere, Who has Lived Fully", which Fr. Zacharie Bukuru, a Benedictine monk from Buta, Burundi, and Monsignor Anba David, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox diocese of New York and New England, together with Rev. Marcel Uwineza, survivor of the Rwandan genocide, will participate in.