Encountering the beauty of God

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. Photo: Paul McKibben/Bayard, Inc.

Summer offers us the extra time to appreciate God’s creation and presence — in nature, in the universe, and within our churches. 

Recently, my family and I traveled to rural southeastern Ohio, far away from the bright city lights where we live. At the John Glenn Astronomy Park in the scenic forests of the Hocking Hills area, we peered into the lenses of telescopes and saw actual craters on the moon. It was stunning! 

In this issue, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a special feature that includes recollections from our readers and contributors. In addition, our editor-at-large Bishop Robert Reed recalls his memories of that historic night and its deeper significance. 

“Within you and me is a deep desire: to reach beyond this garden of life, to move beyond our frail and flawed human existence to something greater,” he writes. 

One can experience that feeling of transcendence in our places of worship, too. 

In our June/July/August 2019 print issue, we take you inside the seat of the Diocese of Covington (Kentucky). St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption will remind you of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a landmark that we pray will once again be a place of prayer and joy after a destructive fire there in April. Though much smaller in size, St. Mary’s features striking similarities to the Paris church. 

Stephen Enzweiler, cathedral historian and a docent at the Covington basilica, says that when people enter St. Mary’s, they experience feelings “of wonder, of awe, and of peace.” 

I’m blessed that this magnificent cathedral honoring Catholic Digest’s patron — Mary, in her Assumption — is only a short drive from my home. (Our parent company, Bayard, Inc., is sponsored by the Augustinians of the Assumption.) Later this summer, on Aug. 15, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Marian scholar Fr. Edward Looney explains the meaning of this holy day here.

Nature, the cosmos, and the sanctuaries of our churches are places where we can experience God and be reminded of his many gifts to us, including the gift of Our Blessed Mother. Who but God alone can create such splendor? 

This summer, spend time outside. At night, gaze at the stars and the moon. Visit your diocese’s cathedral. Enjoy the beauty and peace these places offer. And before you leave, offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God Our Father who created it all. 

You are in my prayers, 


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