Contributors From the super

Our students are encouraged to study the world around them

Vince Cascone is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

by Vince Cascone

This is a continuation of my previous articles on the topic of truth.

As I have traveled around the archdiocese visiting schools this year, I have been meeting with students in second and eighth grades. These sacramental years are so important for them.

As I speak with the students, I ask them questions about the various things they are learning. At some point during the discussion, I ask them what they have learned in science and what they have learned about God.

Then, I ask the question that always leads to a very interesting conversation: Do science and religion have anything to do with one another?

The question of how science and religion relate has been asked for centuries. In our Catholic schools, we want our students to examine and question the world around them. 

St. Augustine wrote: “Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky . . . question all these realities. All respond: ‘See, we are beautiful.’ Their beauty is a profession. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change?” 

Wonder and awe are beautiful gifts from Holy Spirit. I love the Gospel passage in Luke that tells how the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting (1:41). The excitement the yet to be born John the Baptist felt from being in the presence of Our Lord is awesome.

This is the same wonder and awe we want our students to experience when they are in the presence of Our Lord, whether that be through the beauty of the natural world he created or in his profound presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Although my knowledge of Latin is nearly nonexistent, I have become familiar with the phrase “Nemo dat quod non habet,” which means “No one can give what they do not have.”

We cannot, for example, pass on to our children knowledge that we, ourselves, do not have. This phrase comes to mind when I reflect on what our school principals, teachers, faculty and staff members do to grow in the knowledge of our faith so they can share this with their students.

In addition to the wonderful faith formation they receive from the School of Faith, we will be having a speaker next year focusing specifically on faith and reason.

That being said, our goal is to help our students to examine the world around them so they can experience the gifts of wonder and awe that the Holy Spirit gives.

By doing this, they will see the beautiful connection between science and religion.

About the author

Vince Cascone

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