I am going to Rome to participate on a commission for the Augustinian order that will prepare a process for evaluating its structures. One of the first things I will do is visit the tomb of Blessed Pope John XXIII. At the tomb I bring all the prayers of the participants and students of Tepeyac.
Today I had the opportunity to give a series of presentations to about 300 school teachers at the Cathedral High School. I thought it was well attended and much interest in the topics. The topics were "Exploring Evolutionary Science, Technology and Spirituality" in the morning and "The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven" in the afternoon. Questions concerning religion, science, and things of the afterlife seem to be in people's minds and in the minds of students. It comes as a shock to know that the Church embraces the theory of evolution, cosmic and biological. We as human beings are not the center of the universe, but in relationship with it. As the Passionist priest Thomas Berry once said: "The universe is a community of subjects, not a collection of objects." The topic of the Four Last Things is pertinent because of Halloween, or simply, because we are anxious about death and the afterlife. I don't think we as schools and as a Church talk enough about these issues. Perhaps the first place to start is to encourage students to ask questions. There is nothing wrong with exploring ideas with questions as the engine of our reflections. Students should be encouraged to even question faith and religion.
At the moment, I am in San Francisco making contacts with people I know who deal with the technology for online education. I have talked to the people who manage the Acceledge.com platform for the classes as well as potential instructors who will come to Tepeyac during the June Summer Institute in 2012. The plan is to begin offering online courses for the Renewal classes in the Fall of 2012. If successful, we will extend the classes to the parishes in West Texas.