Continuing formation of priests is taken seriously in the Diocese of Tucson. Bishop Kicanas asked Fr. Chris Corbally and me to provide some input during the annual Newly Ordained Mentoring Program (NOMP). It was not entirely new to us. In 2014, I had given some input to the group at the Redemptorist Renewal Center, the NOMP headquarters. Recently ordained priests and deacons of the Diocese spend three days with the Bishop there. The program includes various exercises, ranging from prayer to field trips.
This time the plan was to organize a trip to Vatican Observatory’s offices on the University of Arizona campus and spend three hours with us on August 24. Father Chris and I did not think that an afternoon chatting in an office would be overly stimulating, and so we arranged for a tour of Steward Observatory‘s Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory.
Mons. Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, Mons. Albert Schifano and ten recently ordained priests and deacons arrived at 2pm at our offices. Fr. Chris introduced the Vatican Observatory and its facilities in Arizona. Then we had an excellent tour of the Mirror Laboratory guided by Cathi Duncan and Alan Brass. Then we returned to our offices for a little bit of input addressing some of the questions that have arisen – the Two Books (Nature & Scripture), Whig historiography of science etc.
In his thank-you note, Mons. Schifano described the tour as “breathtaking”. He also wrote, “Your presentation […] was fascinating. I suggested to the Bishop that we find a venue for our priests to hear it. I personally want more.”