The purpose of this grant is fivefold: (1) to continue and expand the Science & Religion Initiative that began with the exploratory grant (#39339); (2) to introduce teachers in Catholic high schools to the dialogue between theology and the natural sciences; (3) to assist them in incorporating that material into their courses; (4) to introduce priests and deacons to dialogue between theology and the natural sciences and (5) to assess, develop, and share the results. We will do this through an intensive, pedagogically and curricula oriented 5-day onsite seminar for up to 42 teachers during the summer of 2016, as well as a 3-day intensive homiletically and pastorally oriented seminar for up to 16 priests and deacons in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in the fall of 2016. The seminars will consist of a series of keynote presentations, discussion sessions, and occasions for spiritual reflection.

Catholic schools constitute the largest private educational system in America and a large potential audience (1200 high schools with 579,605 students). We firmly believe education should inspire wonder and foster inquiry into the mysteries of the world—both its natural and spiritual dimensions —and this should institutionalized in the entire school systems. Unfortunately, the academic and the spiritual have too often been separated, even within Catholic schools. Our program will begin to rectify that.

We have developed this program within the context of the Church’s 2000-year tradition intellectual and spiritual tradition. The church encompasses numerous cultures, languages, and philosophical traditions, attempting to integrate them into a whole. Development of its tradition occurs slowly and discerningly, growing organically out of the historical tradition even while incorporating scientific and philosophical insights into its theology. Consequently, the seminars will bring appropriate elements of the tradition into dialogue with modern scientific research.