Faith is Reasonable

09-30-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Do you have a beloved pet? Maybe a horse or even a llama, alpaca, or other favorite animals you care for? All animals of any species are welcome to our annual Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis, this Thursday, October 4 at 3:30pm on the rectory lawn (corner of Park Ave. and York St.). Every animal will receive a special pet medal, blessed for this occasion!

Plan to come this Saturday, October 6, to the 30th Annual Chocolate Festival, our parish’s largest fundraiser, which benefits especially our parish school. Admission to the event is free, and there is fun for all ages. You’ll find lots of vendors with many unique gift ideas, a book sale, a silent auction, rides, and fair-style games, and, of course, chocolate! The festival runs from 10:00am to 3:00pm at the school.

From my youth, I have always found the sciences fascinating, biology in particular. This has prompted some people over time to question me about how I could be interested in both, presuming, perhaps, that faith and reason are opposites. Also, many focus on “the Galileo affair” without ever really looking into it, and therefore believe the Church to be “antiscience.” (See Nothing could be further from the truth. Faith is reasonable. In fact, the university system owes its origins to the Catholic Church. The Gregorian calendar that you use every day with its 365 days and leap years was refined by a Jesuit,  Christopher Clavius, and introduced by Pope Gregory XIII to replace the previous out-of-sync calendar.

In preparing a recent RCIA class, I brought up a few Catholic scientists who have changed our world:

Fr. Gregor Mendel – Augustinian abbot and the father of modern genetics. Mendel's experiments (1856–1863) established many of the rules of heredity. He coined the terms “recessive" and "dominant” for certain traits, and also demonstrated the actions of what we now called genes in predictably determining the traits of an organism.

Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller – Religious sister, educator, and pioneer in computer science. She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science in the United States and was an advocate for the involvement of women in computing. In 1958 Keller began working at Dartmouth College where she participated in the development of the BASIC programming language.

Fr. Georges Lemaître – Belgian Catholic priest, astronomer, and physicist. Lemaître formulated the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe, which was endorsed by Albert Einstein in 1931 and remains the prevailing cosmological model of the universe today.

There are many more laity and religious who have made significant and essential discoveries we benefit from every day. The point is that faith and the sciences are complementary and help us, created in the image of God, to delve into the very mind of God. Faith without reason leads to superstition. Reason without faith leads to nihilism and relativism. For more, read St. John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), found free online.

Let us pray for each other,

Father Wilson