Learning Together at the Vatican Observatory


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."


Fr. Paul Gabor

About Fr. Paul Gabor

Fr. Paul Gabor SJ was born in 1969 in Košice, Slovakia. He studied Particle Physics at Charles University Prague, Czech Republic (1988-1995). His work was primarily instrumental, participating in the development of the ATLAS detector for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1995, did his 2-year novitiate in Kolin, Czech Republic, then 2 years of Philosophy studies in Cracow, Poland. After this, he taught philosophy for a year in Olomouc, Czech Republic, and studied Theology in Paris, France. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. After ordination, he earned a PhD in astrophysics in 2009 in Paris, where he again opted for instrumentation, working with Alain Léger, the author of the proposed Darwin space observatory. Gabor's work under Alain Léger was carried out at the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, University of Paris XI, focusing on two optical test beds, SYNAPSE and NULLTIMATE.

Fr. Gabor is interested in the tests of achromatic phase shifters, stabilization (through optical path dithering), wave front filtering (with single mode fibers), polarization and other issues regarding the implementation of nulling interferometry, techniques and instrumentation that can be used to discover planets orbiting other stars.

Fr. Gabor joined the Vatican Observatory in September 2010. He became its Vice Director in September 2012 and is in charge of its Research Group in Tucson.

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