I will not be able to attend the New York Encounter, which will be held January 18-20 because I will still be in the midst of doggie rehab. The event, spread over three days, is a smaller, US version of the annual Rimini meeting in August and, like the Rimini meeting, it is sponsored by Communione e Liberazione, one of the new ecclesial movements founded in Italy and now spread across the world. I have a soft spot for CL. When I was first introduced to them by a good friend, he characterized the group for me as "Opus Dei for lazy people." It is much more than that, but what his remark captured was the lack of stridency at CL events. There is fervor, to be sure, but not stridency, and most of the CL events I have attended are as much about the socializing with family and friends that accompanies the many talks and panel discussions the group sponsors.
This year, they will be focusing on religious liberty. Given the many writings of the group's founder, Luigi Giussani, on freedom, the conversations should be fascinating, not least because Giussani was deeply suspicious of the negative conception of freedom ("freedom from") that is the hallmark of our American understanding of the concept.
For more information, you can find a schedule of the events by clicking here.