Tucson's Vatican Observatory to Celebrate 30th Anniversary
The Jesuits include many scientists among them, with an exceptional history of accomplishment in the field of astronomy. Thus, it's fitting that the Vatican Observatory is headed by a Jesuit, Brophy Guy Consolmagna, S.J., and staffed by Jesuit scientists noted for their scholarship in various fields of astronomy and astrophysics. And for those of us in Arizona, it's a happy coincidence that the Vatican Observatory has built a powerful telescope on Mount Graham in Southern Arizona. In September, the Vatican Observatory Foundation will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the installation of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope with a number of special events in Tucson, from Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. You can find the link to events and registration here.
From Brother Consolmagno, writing from Rome and the Vatican Observatory headquarters in the papal gardens...
Why is there a Vatican Observatory here, or in Arizona, or anywhere else? Of course the Vatican's interest in astronomy goes back to the reforms of the Gregorian Calendar in 1582, but the Vatican's own national Observatory dates from 1891 and a proclamation by Pope Leo XIII that we should "show the world" how the Church supports science.
Some people confuse the heavens we study with the Heaven we hope for, but the link is more subtle and more profound than that. We don't try to find God in our telescope; rather, it is because we believe in a God who created this universe, with all its stars and planets. God the Creator found every stage of its creation good, and God so loved this creation that He sent his only Son to redeem it. Thus, our faith leads us to want to find the Creator in the things that were created.