The 2018 Festival of Friendship Is a free, 3-day cultural festival that is open to the public and involves absorbing discussions and talks, beautiful performances, and fascinating exhibits.

Our 2018 Schedule!

Friday, Sept 28, 2018

5:00pm Brian Cohen


Co-curator and co-photographer, “Out of Many – Stories of Migration,” an exhibit at the Festival of Friendship

6:30pm Michael and Susan Waldstein

Keynote: “Only Wonder Knows” by two eminent theology professors.

7:30pm Jazz Piano Concert: Andrea Domenici on piano

8:00pm Tonus Peregrinus: The Accidental Pilgrim

Concert of Classical Music  
Lucy Yates, soprano/piano, and Jeffrey Girton, violin/piano 
with Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba, and Justin Wallace, harpsichord 
Music to come home to
by Schubert, Couperin, Biber, Bach, and Brahms (order free tickets here: )


Saturday, Sept 29, 2018

9am  Justice Choir Workshop

A grassroots movement to engage in the empathic, collaborative, and collective power of singing together; a presentation by Amanda Sprague Hanzlik

10am  When the Flower Opens

Authors Mark Danner and Joshua Stancil will introduce their book on Catholic Buddhist Dialogue. They will be joined by Rev. Kotoku Crivello, a Zen Buddhism priest and teacher. Rev. Kotoku will provide his insights concerning the book.

11:00am “Migrants: Not Numbers, but People”

WasiMohamed, ICP
Barbara Gagliotti, AVSI
Ilaria SchnyderVon Wartensee, University of Notre Dame
Marie L’Hermine, AVSI

12:00pm Jazz Piano Concert: Andrea Domenici on piano.




The Festival took place in Pittsburgh's Cultural District, in the Trust Arts Education Center (805 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh), Sept 28-30, 2018.

Saturday, Sept 29, 2018 Schedule (continued)

12:30pm  “Edward Hopper: The Eternal Instant”

Bruno Cassarà, Exhibit Translator
Sara Tang, Founder of Draw Me In
Lilianna Serbicki, Author and Educator


2:00pm  “Education to Wonder: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd”

Celine Mitchell, Director of Religious Education,  St. Fidelis Church
Alessandro Rovati, Moral Theologian
Suzanne M. Lewis, Founder and Coordinator, Revolution of Tenderness 

3:30pm “At the End of the Road There is Someone Waiting For You” Pilgrimage Stories

Igor Vishnevetsky, Russian Literature Scholar and novelist
Michael Miravalle, pilgrim
Rose Tomassi, pilgrim
Urszula Łukaszuk, Chicago Cabrini Pilgrimage Organizer


4:30pm  Jazz Piano Concert: Andrea Domenici on piano

 5pm  “What Does Wonder Know?”

John Henry Crosby, President, Hildebrand Project
Lucy Tucker Yates, Librettist, Musical Director, and Vocal Coach
Jonathan Bratten, Military Historian

6:30pm “The Miracle of Hospitality”

Nadia Khawaja, Journalist
Beniamino Rovagnati and Gaia Temporiti, Adoptive Parents
Sr. Agnes Thérèse Davis, TOR
Dylana Skye, Activist
This event includes a free dinner, hosted by the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh (RSVP and register:

8:00pm A Meditation – The Journey Home: Inward and Onward 

Choral selections directed by Amanda Sprague Hanzlik including a singalong (order free tickets here: )


2018 Festival Theme: Only Wonder Knows

A relatively new phenomenon, that of internet quizzes, invites people to answer arcane and seemingly mystical multiple-choice questions to discover which medieval philosopher they are, or which Hogwarts House they belong to, or which sandwich or piece of Ikea furniture they are; we can even discover, by answering a set of twelve random questions, the answer to the question, Who Are You, Really? One particular genre of quiz is a variation on the Meyers Briggs psychological tests - these types of quizzes seem to be perennial favorites, despite the fact that most people already know what their four letters are. Why are these popular? What are they actually telling us about ourselves?
Meanwhile, the question of science and how science understands the human person generates interest in people of many different backgrounds. Some wield science in order to claim they know what “causes” a person to murder, to fall in love, or to act with compassion. Many people do internet searches with lists of symptoms they've observed in themselves in an attempt to define themselves (but instead of defining themselves as Hildegard of Bingen or an introvert, they do it according to disorders: food sensitivities, rare auto-immune diseases, digestive issues, or hormone imbalances). The flip side to this impulse to ask science what is wrong with us is the quest for a "cure" - is there a special diet that can fix us? Or perhaps there's a medicine that my doctor is unfamiliar with? Or perhaps there are environmental problems that are causing human ills on a grander scale (vaccinations, air pollution, lack of exercise due to the omni-presence of elevators and escalators).
Self-help books – even Catholic ones – claim to help us to discover our personal love languages, or what medieval humors are controlling our personality. Specialists claim they have the formula for getting our spouse to talk to us, or how to discover our immortal reality. In the realm of politics and economic theory, any number of “experts” want to give us the recipe for the perfect rearrangement of the government to finally better suit humanity.
Our theme, Only Wonder Knows, boldly asserts what we already know, in our heart of hearts: that none of the answers generated through these means will ever supply a solution to satisfy our desire to know and be known. Josef Pieper wrote: “to be human is to know things beyond the ‘roof’ of the stars, to go beyond the trusted enclosures of the normal, customary day-to-day reality of the whole of existing things, to go beyond the ‘environment’ to the ‘world’ in which that environment is enclosed.” Instead of providing people with an external “test” that will finally supply the answer to humankind’s restless questions, the path that wonder creates is built on the freedom of the person to look at his or her own elementary needs and experiences. We discover who we are through the particular lives we lead, and each of us is tasked with the responsibility of the personal work necessary to keep the questions open. In order to have the strength to walk this particular pilgrimage toward the truth of ourselves, we need friends, companions, who will accompany us. We don’t need more “experts” or manuals or quizzes. We need others who will look at us with eyes filled with wonder, who are willing to be surprised by what and who we are, rather than try to sum us up with a theory, or a definition. At the Festival of Friendship, we will celebrate this dimension of life and propose this understanding of friendship, so that we can all set out together on the adventure of wonder!