Next week, from January 11th – 15th, I will have the privilege of attending the second annual Faith and Astronomy Workshop (FAW), hosted by the Vatican Observatory Foundation at the Redemptorist Renewal Center. The last time I went to FAW, I went as a participant. This time, I go as a presenter, reflecting on how I have integrated the exploration of faith and astronomy in my parish ministry. As I have been prayerfully preparing this presentation, I have been experiencing a nostalgic joy, reveling in the journey God has put me on since FAW2015. Much of that journey has found its way into my blog posts for The Catholic Astronomer. Therefore, I want to thank you, the readers of The Catholic Astronomer, for being a part of this exploration!
Whether it be my experiences from the last FAW or writing blog posts for The Catholic Astronomer, there is one, core lesson I have learned from exploring faith and astronomy: The more we learn about the world we live in, the more there is to learn about the world we live in. To explore the topic of faith and astronomy is to explore the virtue of humility. This humility is not something that deflates the soul, but rather opens it up to an endless sea of wonder, exploring who God is and how God’s creation works. Below is a reflection I wrote for our Diocesan Newspaper, The Catholic Times, reflecting on last year’s FAW. In the weeks to come, I will offer a series of reflections on FAW2016 so you can share in our journey. Also, you can click on the image of my Bishop, Bishop Callahan, to hear a radio interview I did for our Diocese about my experience at the last FAW (the interview begins at 6:13 of the audio file after a brief review of the 2015 March for Life and some commercials). I would ask all of our readers to keep us in prayer next week, asking God for clear skies, open minds, and life changing experiences as we reflect on the relationship between faith and astronomy.