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012418-Glen Leach

Glenn Leach is a volunteer with the Social Action and Immigration Office located at the Diocese of Davenport on West Central Park Avenue, Davenport, and also attends St. Ann's Catholic Church, Long Grove.

The city of Chicago may be where Glenn Leach was born, but the Davenport resident hasn't really lived there since he was 18 years old.

Leach, a member of St. Ann's Catholic Church in Long Grove, discussed his approach to his faith as part of the "Faces of Faith" series.

Tell us about yourself?

"After I graduated from the University of Illinois, I went to work for the U.S. Army as a civilian explosives safety specialist, and married my lovely wife, Bernie, 14 months later.

"My job involved work in Europe, South America, and in the Marshall Islands. Our oldest boy was born in Arlington, Virginia, and the youngest in the Pacific.

"As the Pacific tour ended, I had a choice between the Army Arctic Test Center and the Rock Island Arsenal. It took less than 10 seconds to pick the Quad-Cities, and we have been here since."

Were you raised Catholic?

"No, my parents sent me to Sunday school at a Reformed Church. Many of my public-school classmates were Catholic, and I was attracted to the many ways their religion was part of the way they lived.

"I admired that, as I felt that your faith should dictate some of your activities and your choices in life."

How long have you practiced Catholicism?

"On a rare visit to church in college, I heard a Methodist pastor say that it takes three to get married: man, woman and God. That stuck with me.

"Later I started dating a Catholic girl. When we became engaged, neither she nor our families made a big issue of our different faiths, but it bothered me.

"During a year-long Army training program, a Catholic fellow trainee encouraged me to attend Mass with him. The liturgy moved me, and that led to study with one of the priests at the parish who had been a missionary in South America.

"I was baptized and joined the Catholic church 51 years ago, when I was 24 years old."

How do you feel about being Catholic? About growing in it?

"My faith is a work in progress. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; His summation of all scripture as loving God with everything that we have and are, and our neighbor as our self; and the starkly radical admonishments of Jesus in Matthew, including saying that the basis for our judgment will be we have done 'for the least of these,' are my inspiration and constant challenge.

"Prayer and study help me to apply those models of love and obedience to my life, however imperfectly.

"Christianity is hard and as Tammy Wynette might say, Jesus never promised us a rose garden, just a life fully lived. But working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) keeps me occupied with that full life.

What else should we know about Catholicism?

"Catholicism emphasizes community. We worship together, and in fact our liturgy loses meaning without all participating.

"We see everyone, even those of other religions, as children of God.

"In his annual Christmas address, Pope Francis said, “Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, 'there is no place in the inn.'" (Luke 2:7).

"He goes on, speaking of the children of Syria, Iraq, Sudan and other places. He concludes by saying, "And may we commit ourselves, with the help of his grace, to making our world more human and more worthy for the children of today and of the future."

"That is the message and the challenge of Catholicism."

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