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NYC Catholic Festival Aims to Bridge 'Faith and Reality'

NEW YORK – A three-day public festival organized by Roman Catholic groups scheduled for Jan. 17-19 at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom is set to engage thousands with different kinds of performances and exhibits, aimed at bridging the "intelligence of faith" with the "intelligence of reality."

"Organized by members of the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation and by the Crossroads Cultural Center, NYE strives to witness to the new life and knowledge generated by the faith, following Pope Benedict's claim that 'the intelligence of faith has to become the intelligence of reality,'" Barbara Gagliotti, a spokesperson for the 2014 New York Encounter, shared with The Christian Post on Friday.

This year's festival, which promises various panel discussions, artistic performances, and exhibits, has been inspired by Pope Francis' call in his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation to see the Church "on the streets."

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the Roman Catholic Church leader wrote.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said the event "will help to promote a society of truth and love."

Gagliotti told CP that New York Encounter expects to see between three and four thousand people attend the events, which would be consistent with attendance levels in the past few years.

"NYE aims to discover, affirm, and offer to everyone truly human expressions of the desire for truth, beauty, and justice. NYE, thus, becomes a meeting point for people of different beliefs, traditions, and cultures striving for reciprocal understanding, mutual building, and true friendship," Gagliotti explained, adding that the festival is open to "people of good will of all faiths and none."

Among some of the notable events that are set to take place at the festival: eyewitness accounts of Christian persecution and suffering in the Middle East; commentary by Archbishop of Boston Sean Cardinal O'Malley on Pope Francis' exhortations to the Church and the world; exhibitions of miraculous portraits of Jesus Christ; as well as performances and traditional music from different corners of the world.

"When we began this event five years ago, we wanted to shed the light of faith on to every aspect of human reality," said Maurizio Maniscalco, president of New York Encounter. "Our goal was to provide a forum where people could share and discover expressions of the human need for truth, beauty, and justice. We believe that the festival has become just such a place."

More information about the New York Encounter festival, including the schedule and expected speakers, is available on its official website.

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