Faith and Astronomy: A Workshop for Catholic Parish Educators

January 14-18, 2019 Redemptorist Retreat Center, Tucson, Arizona

sponsored by the Vatican Observatory Foundation

What can modern astronomy tell us about creation – and its Creator? This four-day workshop, sponsored by the Vatican Observatory Foundation, is designed to bring those working in Catholic parishes and schools an up-to-date overview of the universe: from the Big Bang, to the search for life in the universe, to our exploration of the planets… as seen through the eyes of the Jesuit priests and brothers who work at the Vatican’s own astronomical observatory.

The workshop will be held the week of January 14-18, 2019, at the Redemptorist Retreat Center outside of Tucson, Arizona. Participants should plan to arrive on the afternoon of Monday, January 14; an optional tour will be available that afternoon, but the work of the workshop begins that evening. Days and evenings are scheduled through Thursday. The workshop will end with Mass and breakfast on Friday morning, January 18.

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The workshop is designed for people who are interested in the dialog about science in Catholic parishes and schools. This includes priests and deacons, science teachers, and educators in CCD and RCIA programs. Our hope is that the participants will not only experience astronomy in a Catholic setting, but also come away with materials and ideas to share in their lives and ministry when they return home. We have space available for 25 participants.

Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope

Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope

The program will include lectures, lab exercises, and field trips to a number of astronomical sites in the area around Tucson, Arizona, home of the Vatican Observatory Research Group and the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope.

Each morning will include an hour talk, an hour of a lab exercise (working with lenses and mirrors, understanding light, learning how to interpret astronomical photos), and an hour of discussion of the issues about astronomy and religion that the participants find are most of interest and concern to them and the people they work with. Each afternoon will have a field trip – to a local observatory, a lab at the University of Arizona, or a local museum. The evenings, after Mass and dinner, will be given over to observing with several small telescopes on site. (The Redemptorist Retreat Center is located in a beautiful dark desert setting well outside of city lights.)

The fee of $1000 per person covers four nights in a modest but comfortable en-suite room at the Redemptorist Retreat Center, including board from Monday evening through Friday morning; transportation and admission fees for the field trips; and assorted books and other materials that the participants can take back with them to their home parishes. Some or all of this fee may be waived for participants who request assistance.

Application period is now closed. Final selection of participants will be announced in early October. 

Click to download the 2019 Faith & Astronomy Workshop Flier:

2019 Faith and Astronomy Workshop

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