Saturday, December 13, 2014

Joy to the World

Godspell, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!"
         In the beginning of the movie Godspell, we hear the voice of one crying out in Central Park:
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

This joyful voice, though not as good as mine, echoes through the streets of New York, summoning disciples from their daily grind to the Bethesda Fountain.  There, we find John the Baptist, sporting a multi-colored tailcoat and jeans, holding hands with the winged-angel statue that hovers above the fountain.  One-by-one they come – a waitress, an artist, a taxi driver and his passenger, a business woman – running, skipping, dancing their way into Central Park.  One-by-one, they join John in song and plunge themselves into the fountain to be baptized by him.  If I had to characterize this 1973 flash mob with one word, it would be joy.  Preparing the way of the Lord isn’t a dreary, frightful chore; it’s a joyful conversion of heart because the Messiah brings joy to the world.
        On this third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, our readings call us “to cultivate joy and allow it to sustain us.”[1]  Joy is the common thread in today’s readings.  In our passage from Isaiah, the prophet says, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.”  In our Responsorial, we hear our Blessed Mother beautifully proclaim to Elizabeth:   “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  And in our second reading, Saint Paul “encourages his readers to let joyfulness be a constant characteristic of their daily lives.”[2]  Isaiah, Mary and Paul have prepared the way of the Lord, just as John preaches in our Gospel; they've centered their lives on God, and they rejoice in it. 

        So what is the joy that’s ushered in by the Messiah?  What are we preparing for?  It isn't just happiness.  It’s not that giddy feeling we get on Christmas morning when realize that the Elf on the Shelf will finally go back home to the North Pole.  It’s not the belly laugh that wells up inside of you when you see your clergy dressed in pink twice a year.  It’s deeper than that.  Joy is sharing in God’s life.  God loves us so much that he sent “his own Son into the dysfunction of the world so that he might gather that world into the bliss of the divine life.”[3]  That’s the message, that’s the opportunity that the Word Made Flesh brought into the world, and with that message comes great joy.  Accepting this fundamental truth brings with it eternal joy, a joy that persists through sorrow and suffering, a joy that sustains and comforts us in this life, and that carries us into the fullness of God’s eternal joy in the next.    

        Saint Paul is serious when he tells us to “Rejoice always!”  Joy isn't a fleeting emotion; it’s a way of life.  “Joy does not simply happen to us.  We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”[4]  Just think of the people in your life who are always joyful, no matter what.  Aside from being a little annoying, they’re pretty remarkable people.  They have the same problems and challenges that the rest of us have (sometimes even more), but they choose to be joyful.  They choose to focus on the good things in their lives, and they choose to be grateful to God for them.  They choose to spread their joy, not their sorrows.  They choose to bring joy to the world.  Being joyful is a choice.  “There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration.”[5] 

        What’s their secret?  What helps these joyful people choose joy?  They've centered their lives on God.  Like Isaiah, Mary, Saint Paul and John the Baptist, joyful people put God at the center of their lives.  Isaiah set aside his shortcomings to accept his call to be God’s prophet; Mary, despite her youth, gave her assent to God’s wish that she should be his mother; Paul gave up a life of prominence for a life of imprisonment, beatings, shipwreck and ultimately death, all to preach God’s word to the Gentiles; and John shunned earthly comforts to prepare the way of the Lord.  For Isaiah, Mary, Paul, John and all joyful people, God comes first.  When God comes first, our lives are properly ordered; our paths are made straight; we put the needs of others before our own, and we’re filled with God’s joy.

        The great thing about God’s joy is that it’s catchy.  It can’t be contained.  Think of the impact that Isaiah, Mary, Paul and John the Baptist have had on civilization.  By putting God at the center of their lives, they've brought joy to the world.  Think, again, of those joyful, God-centered people in our lives.  We can’t help but smile when we’re around them.  They spread joy by being joyful.  They bring joy to the world.  Like a great flash mob, what starts with one person grows into a joyful chorus singing God’s praise, bringing joy to the world.

        I saw a great flash mob on YouTube the other day.  It took place in December last year at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.  It started with a lone cellist, sporting a crisp, blue uniform, fittingly bowing the rolling strains of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.  One-by-one they came, a doublebass, then violins, violas and woodwinds.  One-by-one, each member of the United States Air Force Band joined together to prepare the way of the Lord in song, sharing their joy and their talent with their amazed audience, who received that joy with  smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes.  If I had to characterize this 2013 flash mob with one word, it would be joy.  And if that weren't moving enough, a dozen or more trumpets announced the transition to a familiar hymn, a hymn that captures the message of our readings perfectly:    

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

U.S. Air Force Flash Mob, 2013

[1] Patricia Datchuk Sánchez. “Enlivened by Joy,” National Catholic Reporter, vol. 51, no. 4 (December 5-18, 2014) at 27.
[2] “Joy,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 3, David Noel Freedman, ed., (New York, Doubleday, 1992) at 1023. 
[3] Robert Barron, The Strangest Way:  Walking the Christian Path (Maryknoll, Orbis, 2002) at 31.
[4] Henri Nouwen, Here and Now, 1994.
[5] Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (New York, Doubleday, 1992) at 116.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Halos All Around Me

                I don’t believe in coincidences.  The topic of our RCIA class this morning was “Mary and the Saints.”  You know, all the folks you see in Christian art with the halos over their heads.  Saints are important to Catholics because they’re our role models; our heroes, if you will.  Not all Christian faiths venerate the Saints the way Catholics do, so it’s important for those seeking to join the Church through our RCIA program to understand what Catholics believe (and what we don’t believe) about the Saints.  At the end of the class, Anne, our catechist extraordinaire, made an impromptu change to her presentation.  She had intended to share a prayer with the class, but instead she shared a beautiful piece about the saintliness of everyday people who touch our lives in so many ways.  I don’t have the text to share with you, but it basically said that there are halos all around us.  This piece really resonated with me because I had just spent my whole weekend bumping into everyday Saints.  The topic of the day and Anne’s change of plans was no coincidence.

                It started on Friday night in a conversation with Bob at our Parish staff Christmas party.  Bob was telling us about the challenges he and his wife dealt with when they were adopting their daughter from Russia.  The waiting, the run arounds, the legal bureaucracy and the cost seemed overwhelming to say the least.  But they persisted, so a young girl who would've grown up in an orphanage now lives in a happy, healthy home with a loving family.  How about a halo for Bob and his wife?

                When I got home from the party, I decided to do a quick Facebook check before going to bed.  My friend Kelly had posted a link for a hat company called Halo Hats.  For every hat purchased, Halo Hats donates a hat to a cancer patient at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or at other hospitals treating children for cancer.  I needed a hat, so I thought I’d check it out in the morning.  A hat for me and a halo for Kelly.

                I woke up early Saturday morning, because I’m now officially old, and decided to check out Halo Hats right away.  When I went back on Facebook to get the link, I was greeted with 14 birthday wishes from friends and family, old and new.  And the birthday greetings just kept pinging in one after another the entire time I was on Facebook.  I note, for the record, that the “Happy Birthdays” that greeted me on Saturday morning were sent by people who were up earlier than I was, so they must be even older than I am.  Halos to the left of me; halos to the right of me; halos all around me.

                When I got to the Halo Hats webpage, I learned that the company was founded by Carlos Raymond Saavedra, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of six.  Carlos knows what it’s like to be bald and the comfort that a good hat can bring during chemo and radiation treatments, so from his personal experience and the inspiration of his guardian angels, Halo Hats was born on October 11, 2013, the same day as Carlos’ cancer diagnosis 17 years earlier.  Did I mention that I don’t believe in coincidences?

  After wiping away a tear or two, I found a great assortment of really cool hats on the Halo Hats webpage.  So I bought five – two for me and one each for my wife and two daughters.  (Don’t tell them, it’s a Christmas surprise.  They only know that they’re getting a special gift where for every one I bought, a child with cancer gets the same thing).  That purchase led me to Linda, who, I later realized, is Carlos’ mom.  Linda confirmed my order and told me that since I ordered on my birthday, they were going to send me a birthday hat – I’m not sure exactly what that is, but I’m guessing a crown with streamers, because that would totally scream me.  Linda asked how I’d heard of Halo Hats, so I told her about Kelly’s Facebook post and that I purchased the hats for my family.  She shared a little of her experience with Carlos at Saint Jude’s and spoke of what a thrill it is to see the kids light up when Carlos presents them with their hats.   Then Linda offered to share that thrill with my family and me – she’s sending us “Halo Head” hats for each of us to present to a cancer patient or survivor that we know.  What a gift!  Hats off and halos on for Carlos, Linda and all the great people at Halo Hats!

We’re all called to be Saints, so following the path of the righteous who've gone before us is a great way to kick off our own journey toward sainthood.  Fortunately, there are lots of people doing just that every day in ordinary and extraordinary ways.  I was blinded by all of the halos I bumped into this weekend.  From the gifts, phone calls, texts, personal messages, birthday dinner and cake from my family and friends, to my introduction to the great folks at Halo Hats, I am truly blessed to have halos all around me.  And I know it’s no coincidence.

Every mention of Halo Hats in this post is hot-linked to their webpage.  Check them out!  You'll be glad you did.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

          When I was a kid, I never liked writing thank you notes.  It’s not that I wasn't grateful for the gifts I received; I was.  I just never knew what to say.  “Thank you” seemed to sum it up perfectly, but Mom said that each note had to have a few sentences.  I had enough trouble finding the words for one thank you note, so when I had several to write, I inevitably churned out the same message:  “Dear So-and-so:  Thank you for the gift.  I like it very, very much.  It was really, really nice of you to give it to me.  Love, Michael.”  Feel free to plagiarize if you need a quick thank you note.  To mix it up a little, I’d exchange the “verys” with “a lot” and underline a word here and there for extra emphasis.  Not very creative, and I knew it.  So I usually ended the task feeling like my thanks wasn't good enough.  I wonder if that’s what was going on with the 9 lepers in today’s Gospel.

          Today’s readings include our traditional Thanksgiving Gospel:  the Healing of the Ten Lepers.  As we hear each year, Jesus heals ten lepers, but only one returns to thank him, prompting Jesus to ask, “Where are the other nine?”  Most Bible scholars interpret this passage as a lesson in gratitude, explaining that only one leper truly appreciated God’s gift of healing, seen in his expression of gratitude.  The other nine were ungrateful, so the scholars say.  But I have a soft spot in my heart for the other nine.  I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they were overwhelmed by the realization that they would no longer be outcast from society.  Maybe they didn't understand what had happened to them and how it came about.  Maybe they had no words to express their gratitude adequately.  Maybe they didn't think their “thank you” would be good enough.

          Giving thanks isn't always easy because gratitude is an act of humility.  Acknowledging that someone has done something nice for us interferes with our sense of independence or self-sufficiency and may even make us feel indebted to our benefactor.  Whether we owe thanks to God or to our neighbor, we may not always express it out of discomfort, fear or a sense of inadequacy.

          But gratitude is good for us.  “Since ancient times, philosophers and sages from every spiritual tradition have taught that cultivating gratitude is a key to experiencing deeper levels of happiness, fulfillment and well-being.”[1]  Modern Science agrees.  In his book called, Thanks, Robert Emmons presents years of research that proves that grateful people live happier, healthier lives.  That’s why we say Happy Thanksgiving.  In Emmons’ words, “If you want to sleep better, count your blessings, not sheep.”[2] 

And where do blessings come from?  From God.  Whether we want to admit it or not, we are creatures who are wholly dependent on our Creator.  Everything we need to live and to be happy comes from God.  We need God.  So the least we can do is express a little gratitude every once in a while.  “Being thankful to God involves waking up to the blessings around us.”[3]  Every breath we take is a gift from God, every second of our lives brings with it an opportunity to receive the gift of God’s love and share it with our neighbor. Gratitude “lets us relive blessing and grace and in this we have the experience twice.”[4]   Living with an attitude of gratitude is a wonderful way to live.

We have so much to be thankful for.  So much that it can be overwhelming; how can our simple “thanks” ever be good enough?  No matter how we feel, we owe our gratitude anyway.  So in the example of the one leper:  let’s muster our courage, summon our humility, and give thanks to God for his eternal, unconditional love.  And don’t worry about the words, because “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”[5] 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

[1] Deepak Chopra, “3 Essential Practices for Gratitude,”
[2] Robert Emmons, Thanks!:  How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).
[3] David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer:  An Approach to Life in Fullness, Paulist Press.
[4] M. Renee Miller, A Guide to Spiritual Practice: Gratitude Practice.
[5] Meister Eckhart.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Messy Spirituality

                I cleaned my chicken coop this weekend.  When I said those words to a colleague a few years ago, she looked at me and said, “I can’t picture you messy.”  Now, of course, she was used to seeing me in a business suit playing lawyer all day, and she’d never been to my home on chicken coop cleaning day.  But that weekend and this past weekend, I was messy, very messy – covered head to toe in dust, pine shavings and, you guessed it, chicken s**t.  But believe it or not, even cleaning a chicken coop can be an exercise in spirituality, chicken s**t notwithstanding.  Let’s call it “messy spirituality.”

                Life is messy.  Kids are messy; pets are messy; adults are messy and relationships are messy.  We've all seen things that made us want to gouge our eyes out, heard things that made us stick our fingers in our ears and sing “LA LA LA LA” as loud as we can, smelled things that gave new meaning to the term “bowels of the earth,” and experienced things that were never explained in life’s instruction manual.  Life is messy, but we deal with it.  And that’s where spirituality comes in.

                As I've said before, I define spirituality as “connectedness”:  connectedness with each other; connectedness with our world and all that’s in it; and, for those who believe, connectedness with God.  Spirituality gives us a sense of responsibility or stewardship for something or someone outside of ourselves.  Spirituality is what makes us get out of a warm, cozy bed at three in the morning to comfort a febrile child who just puked her Spaghetti-O dinner all over her bed and stuffed animals, meatballs and all.  Spirituality helps us remain charitable to the homeless person who’s gone longer than recommended without a bath.  Spirituality keeps us at the bedside of a dying friend when every fiber of our being wants to run away and hide.  Without spirituality, every man would be an island, John Donne notwithstanding.  But we’re not, we’re all connected.  We’re all spiritual. 

                Spirituality isn't reserved for the neat and tidy places of our lives.  It doesn't hang in the closet with our fancy clothes waiting to be trotted out on Sundays.  No, spirituality is probably at its best in the messiest parts of our lives.  That’s when connections really matter.  That’s when we need others most; that’s when we’re most needed.  It’s a matter of recognizing the spirituality of our messiness and in our messiness.  It’s a matter of bringing our messiness to the messiness of others so we can be messy together, so we can understand that we’re not alone in our messiness.  So we can help each other through it and maybe help clean each other up.  That's exactly what God asks us to do.  He asks us to help him clean up this world and all in it, so we can enjoy his creation as he intended us to. 

                I can’t say that I was looking for a spiritual exercise when I set out to clean my chicken coop.  But somewhere in the scooping, scrubbing and spraying I felt a sense of purpose and, ultimately, accomplishment.  Even chickens, who generously provide me with the best eggs I've ever eaten, deserve to be clean, comfortable and healthy.  Yes, they’re messy, like a lot of people I know, but they need my respect and care, like a lot of people I know.  I’m blessed to know a lot of messy people and grateful that they've shared their messiness with me.  They help me help understand that I’m not alone in my messiness.  We're messy together, and we help clean each other up.  I believe that God introduced me to these people for a reason, and I feel a special connection with each one of them.  Our interactions are exercises in spirituality, albeit, messy spirituality.

To learn more about "messy spirituality," I recommend the book, Messy Spirituality, by Michael Yaconelli.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hopeful People - Homily for All Souls' Day

          A few years ago, my cousin Jason discovered that our Great Great Great Grandfather died during the Civil War.  William Meyer joined the New Jersey 13th Regiment when it was mustered in Newark on August 25, 1862.  With only one month of training, the New Jersey 13th was assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s XII Corps and was sent to the battle of Antietam.  It later fought at Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Chattanooga, where William died and was buried in 1864.  William was never mentioned in our family stories.  I had never heard of him before Jason’s discovery, let alone that he was a Union soldier who died in the service of our country.  I’m very proud of that fact, but learning about William had a greater impact on me than just pride.  I felt a connection with someone I've never met:  a family connection, a patriotic connection, a spiritual connection.  And I live in great hope for the day when I can meet my Great Great Great Grandfather William face to face.  I can hope for that day because we Christians are hopeful people.  That’s what All Souls’ Day is all about, and our readings tell us why.

          On its face, All Soul’s day sounds like a consolation prize.  On November 1, we celebrate the Saints, those who've made it to heaven!  On November 2, everybody else.  It sounds a little like the participation trophy that every kid gets at the awards ceremony.   But All Souls’ Day isn't a day set aside for those who didn't make it to heaven, it’s the day we remember all who have died – those of happy memory, and those who may have slipped from our earthly memory with the passage of time, like William.  It’s a day to connect with our ancestors, but most importantly, it’s the day we come together as a hopeful people to celebrate our hope in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.  

          So what makes us so hopeful?  Let’s look at our readings.  Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom is a statement of hope.  “This pericope clearly says that death is not the end but a passage into peace in the presence of God.”[1]  The beautiful 23rd Psalm reminds us that we “shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.”  And in our Gospel, Jesus assures us that he will not reject anyone who comes to him and that it’s the Father’s will that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life.  “When these texts are read in the light of All Souls, a common denominator is what the Catholic funeral Mass asserts:  ‘Life is not ended but changed.’”[2]  So we have every reason to hope, a hope, in Saint Paul’s words, that “does not disappoint.”

          We have every reason to hope.  The hope that Paul speaks of is assured.  God doesn't renege on his promises.  God’s love for us is reliable; it doesn't ebb and flow with changing circumstances because God can’t change.  “In sending the greatest gift of all, his Son who would die for us, God set no conditions.  God’s love is given freely – all we need to do is accept it.” [3] 

          But accepting it isn't always easy.  We get distracted by the many challenges of earthly life.  We lose hope as we face insult and injury, poverty and despair, sickness and death.  We lose courage and conviction as our secular society treats our hope as foolish or superstitious.  But living in hope is nothing to be ashamed of.  Christian living is often paradoxical and difficult, but it’s also a life of great joy, of selfless charity and of infinite love.  This is the faith that’s been handed onto us by our ancestors.  The ancestors we honor today.  It’s something to be proud of.  So when we feel like we’re losing hope, let’s turn to the faith of our fathers and hope together as hopeful people.

          Every time we remember those who've gone before us, we invite God into our lives.  Our memory is prayer; our memory is communion, expressed so beautifully in our Eucharistic Prayer when we pray “Remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy:  welcome them into the light of your face.”[4]  In prayer, we enter into communion with God, with each other and with all he has joined to himself.  In prayer, we come together as hopeful people.

          When my wife Jessica was pregnant with both of our daughters, we had a really tough time picking out a boy’s name.  Well guess what:  the only boy’s name we ever agreed upon was William.  To our knowledge at that time, neither one of us had a William in the family (Jason hadn't found William Meyer yet).  We just liked the name.  It spoke to us.  So when we learned of William Meyer’s honored place in our family tree, we mused that if we had had a son, he would have been named after William, whether we knew it or not.  I don’t believe in coincidences, but I do believe in connections – especially spiritual connections.  And I do believe that William and all our dearly departed speak to us, and pray with us as we wait, together, in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior.  We can believe this, and we can hope for that day because we are hopeful people.

Readings:  Wisdom 3: 1-9; Psalm 23; Romans 5: 5-11; John 6: 37-40

[1] Patricia Datchuk Sánchez, “Remembering and Celebrating Our Own,” National Catholic Reporter, vol. 50, no. 26 (October 10-23, 2014) at 31.
[2] John Shea, The Spiritual Wisdom of the Gospels for Christian Preachers and Teachers:  On Earth as It Is in Heaven, Matthew, Year A (Collegeville, Liturgical Press, 2004) at 237.
[3] Graziano Marcheschi and Nancy Seitz Marcheschi, Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word, 2014 (Chicago, Liturgy Training Publications, 2013) at 281.
[4] Eucharistic Prayer II.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What’s All the Hubbub, Bub?

Bugs Bunny:  [watching the Gremlin try to detonate a bomb with a mallet] “What’s all the hubbub, bub?”

Gremlin:  “Shh.  These blockbuster bombs don’t go off unless you hit them just right.”

Bugs Bunny:  “Yeah?”

Gremlin:  “Yeah.”

          I thought of this classic Looney Tunes dialogue as I read the press reports about Pope Francis’ most recent statement to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences about evolution and the Big Bang Theory.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s what the Pope said:
The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Origin that creates out of love.  The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it.  The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.[1]
          Though I hate to interfere with a good story, the Pope’s statement is no blockbuster bombshell; in fact, it’s not even news.  In 1951, Pope Pius XII gave a speech to the very same Pontifical Academy of Sciences entitled The Proofs for the Existence of God in the Light of Modern Natural Science, in which he acknowledged that the Theory of the Expanding Nature of the Universe, now known as the Big Bang Theory, did not contradict Catholic beliefs on creation.  As an interesting aside, a Catholic priest, Father Georges Lemaître, SJ, first proposed what would become the Big Bang Theory in 1927.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  Likewise, in 1950, Pope Pius XII stated that Catholic doctrine does not preclude the possibility of evolution in his encyclical Humani Generis.[2]  Subsequent Popes, including Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis, have confirmed these teachings.

          It seems that the swirl surrounding the Pope’s recent speech is the result of a lack of understanding of Catholic beliefs.  Catholics believe that we need both faith and reason to understand our world and our God (to the extent we can understand God).  As Pope John Paul II so beautifully put it, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”[3]  Catholics are not asked to check our brains at the door when it comes to faith.  We believe that God gave us brains to use them, even in contemplating God.  Just the same, we can't turn a blind eye to faith as we contemplate the world and its Creator through the lens of the sciences.

          So while Catholics believe that the Bible conveys God’s truth, we do not believe that every story is necessarily literally true (as some Christian denominations do).  We view the Bible as a library, not as a book.  Like a library, the Bible contains different genres of literature: nonfiction, fiction, poetry, allegory, etc.  Why would God limit his inspiration to non-fiction writers alone when truth can be conveyed so beautifully in so many different styles of literature?  If our reason tells us (or science proves, if you will) that a particular story cannot be literally true, we look at it as another form of literature while searching for the truth God intends to convey through it.  For example, science has shown that dinosaurs preceded humans by tens of millions of years.  That means that the world and all living creatures could not have been created in six days, as the Book of Genesis tells us. So while the Genesis creation stories (note that there are two that contradict each other in some respects) may not be literally true, they do convey the truth that God created the heavens and the earth and all things visible and invisible.

          So the reality is, the press didn't hit it just right.  Pope Francis hasn't said anything controversial or even new. So what’s all the hubbub, bub?

[1] Pope Francis, Discourse of Pope Francis on the Occasion of the Dedication of the Bust in Honor of Pope Benedict XVI at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 27, 2014).
[2] Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis (Vatican City, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1950).
[3] Pope John Paull II, Fides et Ratio (Vatican City, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1998).

God loves you, and the Holy Spirit is the love of God.

God wants to change your life with his Holy Spirit. Our powerful mini-retreat, "Who is the Holy Spirit?", begins this Saturday morning, November 1st at 9:30 am in the parish hall.  A breakfast buffet, refreshments and fellowship will be served.  Our presenter for this morning with the Holy Spirit will be Deacon Mike Meyer. Please accept this invitation to draw closer to the Lord with your ICC brothers and sisters.  Visit our parish website at for easy online registration.  Contact Marianne Tasy at: for more information.