What is the Festival of Friendship?


“The Church is Christ’s continuance in history, time, and space, the means by which Christ continues to be present in history in a particular way. It is also the method by which the Spirit of Christ mobilizes the world towards truth, justice, and happiness. [... T]he Church stands before the world as a social reality filled with the divine. In other words, it presents itself both as a human and a divine reality.”

– Msgr. Luigi Giussani, founder of Communion & Liberation


The Pittsburgh Encounter is a weekend-long cultural festival sponsored by St. Paul Cathedral and the Pittsburgh, PA and Steubenville, OH communities of Communion & Liberation. 

This year, we offer a series of conversations, presentations, and exhibits centered on the Church and the many questions its uniqueness elicits. If, in our current socio-political climate, the Church needs to be defended, what exactly is this entity that requires defense? What, for example, is the difference between a ‘body’ and an organization? Is the Church first and foremost a life, or a set of laws and structures? What makes the Church ‘religious’? How exactly can the divine communicate itself through people and things? In what does true unity among people consist? And what exactly does it mean to belong? Answering these questions is essential to the flourishing of our human identity and our freedom.

The Pittsburgh Encounter draws its energy from the examples of such Communion & Liberation-sponsored cultural events as the annual Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples (Rimini, Italy), and the annual New York Encounter. As its name implies, The Pittsburgh Encounter understands Christian faith as “the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new and decisive direction” (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est). It seeks “to aid both the encounter with Christ through authentic witness to faith, and the ever-greater understanding of its contents” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith”).


The Pittsburgh Encounter is free of charge and welcome to the public! To find out more about our schedule of events, click through. 

The Schedule 



Please consider donating towards our goal of keeping The Pittsburgh Encounter free and open to the public. Every donation helps us to provide free cultural activities for the community. 

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