“O Human Race, Born to Fly Upward!”

2013 Theme: Faith is to Recognize an Exceptional Presence

Dates: September 6-8, 2013

Where: Saint Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA


“Essentially, faith is recognizing a Presence that is different, recognizing an exceptional, divine presence. Think of how many times the Samaritan woman had thirsted for the attitude with which Christ treated her in that instant. She had never realized it before, but when it happened she recognized it.” – Msgr Luigi Giussani, founder of Communion & Liberation

All Events and Exhibits will take place in Synod Hall Auditorium    (125 N. Craig Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)


Friday, September 6, 7pm:

Welcome, and introduction—Very Rev. Kris Stubna, rector of St. Paul Cathedral, and Fr. Michael Roche, parochial vicar

Keynote: “Attraction as the Force of Salvation,” Fr. Vincent Nagle, Travelling Preacher for the Missionaries of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, former secretary to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, author, andMagnificat contributor

Saturday, September 7:

9:00am   Guided tours of exhibits available: Earth: A Human Habitat, and What is Man that You are Mindful of Him? Genetics and Human Nature in the Gaze of Jérôme Lejeune

10:00am   “For Love of the Truth: A Presentation on the Life of Jérôme Lejeune, the Scientist who Discovered Trisomy 21—and a Man on the Road to Beatification,” Mark Basik, MD, McGill University, Montreal, and Ombretta Salvucco, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD

1:00pm   Panel Discussion: “Dante and the Journey of Faith,” featuring Brandon L. Cook, University of Notre Dame Medieval Institute, Michele Benetti, FSCB, and Dennis Looney, University of Pittsburgh

3:00pm   “A Conversation on Catholic Faith and American Culture,” with Carlo Lancellotti, Board member and Co-Founder, Crossroads Cultural Center, New York City

4:30pm  ”Suffering Has a Meaning.” a witness, given by Frank Simmonds [invited]

6:00pm   Mass in the Cathedral, Fr. Vincent Nagle, FSCB, celebrant

8pm   “The Beauty of the Encounter”: Poetry reading, featuring poets David Craig and Rita Simmonds, and songs by Sophie A. Lewis

Sunday, September 8:

9:00am-12:30pm   Guided tours of the exhibits available

2pm   “The God Particle… and Us: A Quantum Leap from the Subatomic to the Human,” Giorgio Ambrosio, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL.

Exhibit Descriptions:

What is Man that You are Mindful of Him?  Genetics and Human Nature in the Gaze of Jérôme Lejeune

  • An investigation into “human nature” from the witness of Jérôme Lejeune, doctor and discoverer of trisomy 21, pioneer of clinical genetics, and strenuous defender of human life.  The extraordinary development of genetics has opened great possibilities and expectations, but has also brought to the fore the question: “Do we want to know in order to cure or to select?”  The most recent discoveries in evolutionary biology make it quite difficult to think of living beings, and most of all of man, as totally determined by genes.  Thus an idea very dear to Jérôme Lejeune resurfaces: that every man is “unique” and “irreplaceable,” and should be seen as such.


Earth, a Human Habitat: the Exceptional Features of our Small Planet

  • Wonder is the most human response to the beauty of reality, and has always led human beings to raise questions: Why is the sky so impressive this evening? And why these colors? The very fact that we exist is itself a great source of wonder, for it is by no means obvious that there should be human beings within the universe. The exhibit, which consists of 26 panels, presents the marvelous coming together of the astrophysical, geological, chemical, and biological factors necessary to make life on our planet possible.