"One of the most common misconceptions is that faith and science are at odds with one another. Drawing upon painful events of the Church's past (such as Galileo), the narrative people usually embrace is that faith and science are irreconcilable enemies that promise to be eternal adversaries. However, this narrative is false.Whether it be the long tradition of "priest scientists" who are responsible for some of the greatest discoveries of our time (such as Fr. George Lemaitre, "father" of the big bang), or the ongoing work of the Vatican Observatory, the truth about faith and science is that they are complementary explorations of truth, pointing us to our ultimate beginning and end." - from God's Canvas
In "God's Canvas: An Exploration of Faith, Astronomy, and Creation," Fr. James Kurzynski explores how faith and science can and should be dialogue partners in the exploration of truth. Drawing upon his work as an author for The Catholic Astronomer, the official blog of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, Fr. Kurzynski explores the relationship between faith and science through the lens of his life as a Catholic priest, the pastor of a parish and Newman Center, and as a hobby astronomer,artist, and musician. Through this lens, Fr. Kurzynski will explore core questions that he is often asked as a priest.
About the Author
Fr. James Kurzynski is a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin and a hobby astronomer. Originally from the small town of Amherst in rural central Wisconsin, Fr. James completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, majoring in Applied Music (Saxophone, Voice, and Composition). After graduating from UW-SP, Fr. James worked at the University of Nebraska at Kearney as a Hall Director and pursued a M.S.ed. in Group Counseling. After a year at UNK, Fr. James left his position to attend the University of Saint Mary of the Lake - Mundelein Seminary to discern his priestly vocation.
Fr. James earned a Bachelor in Sacred Theology, a Master of Divinity, and a License in Sacred Theology. While pursuing these degrees, Fr. James also studied Spiritual Theology with the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University and completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Fr. James was ordained a priest June 28, 2003. Fr. James’ first assignment was as an Associate at the Tri-Parishes of St. Mary’s - Durand, Holy Rosary Parish - Lima, and Sacred Heart Parish - Mondovi. After two years, Fr. James was assigned as Chaplain and Instructor of Religion at Regis Middle and High School and was also assigned Associate Vocation Director. In his final year at Regis, Fr. James was also appointed Parochial Administrator of Saint Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church, serving south east Eau Claire County. From 2012-2015, Fr. James served as Pastor of Roncalli Newman Parish, serving the college students of Western Technical College and the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. In 2015, Fr. James was named Pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Menomonie, Wisconsin, which also serves St. Joseph's Grade School (pre-K thru 6) and the Newman Center at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. Fr. James also teaches Introduction to Philosophy for the Diocese of La Crosse’s diaconal formation program.
In regard to his interest in astronomy, Fr. James is a member of both the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society and the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society. He taught an Introduction to Astronomy course during his time at Regis High School in Eau Claire. Fr. James' first involvement with the Vatican Observatory came when an inquiry led to the development of the first "Faith and Astronomy Workshop" (FAW), designed for parish educators and clergy that are not professional scientists.