On a recent visit to the site for the proposed Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Chicago, I was introduced to a new cafe called “The Ark” at 1209 Noble Street. This cafe is a cool sort of evidence of the New Evangelization at work, a Catholic-inspired cafe which is at once very hip, with free WiFi, good food and good coffee. In the picture you can see the coffee bar which is made of cedar boards like the Ark, and is “docked” between two square pillars, a reference to St. John Bosco’s vision of the Pope steering the ship of the Church between the pillars of the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary. This place is no stuffy Victorian parlor, nor it is a falsely cheery evangelical amusement park. It’s a sophisticated, hip place in the heart of one of Chicago’s neighborhoods with truly interesting fresh and delicious food. On the walls are very urbane black and white images of hands with rosaries, fresh interpretations of icons and the like, and a bookshelf with solid Catholic literature. This cafe is one of the anchors along Noble Street, the location of the future Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy, and they are already calling it the “Mercy Corridor.” They hope to see bookshops and other Catholic-themed stores open there. If you are ever in Chicago it is worth a visit!