I had meant to put up posts about two important events but yesterday I was trapped in a Zoom meeting all day so these are now a bit late; still, better late than never.
The first is that this week is the fifth anniversary of the landmark encyclical on our relationship with nature, Laudato Si’, and as a part of its commemoration there are a number of events planned (alas, some already past) for Laudato Si’ Week – click on the link to follow up on them. Of course the message of this encyclical has been covered many times in the Sacred Space Astronomy site, and the document itself can be found (along with other relevant articles) on our Faith and Astronomy Resource site.
This is in fact the inauguration of a Laudato Si’ year…
The other event this week was the passing of the retired Father General of the Jesuits, Fr. Adolfo Nicolàs. Though he was originally from Spain, he spent most of his Jesuit life in Japan, which is where he died.
He was in fact a great friend of the Vatican Observatory. A few months after his election in 2008 (which I wrote about in a column that ran here a few years ago) the members of the Observatory both in Tucson and Rome met together for a common retreat, and as soon as we had returned to Castel Gandolf he came out to visit us – the first time in my experience that the head of the Jesuits came to see us in person. It was a moving event, and one that shaped both us as a community and me personally. Among the other things I remember him telling us was, “train your replacements” which is always good advice. Soon thereafter, Br. Bob Macke got his doctorate in meteorite studies; he became the meteorite curator when I got named director.