This semester, Seton Hall's Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology will offer the award-winning course "Creation and Science," taught by Rev. Joseph R. Laracy, adjunct professor and former NASA engineer.
Father Laracy was one of 15 recipients of a grant awarded by the Planning Team of Science in Seminaries Initiative at John Carroll University and funded by the John Templeton Foundation in a national competition. The course will launch in January and is scheduled to run for at least three semesters during the next three years. It is currently open to all graduate students, though there are plans to extend the course to advanced undergraduates in future semesters.
Father Laracy holds a master's degree in engineering systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He wrote his licentiate thesis on the compatibility of the theology of creation with the natural sciences in the thought of Pope Benedict XVI. As a systems engineer, he worked with Ball Aerospace and Technologies on the NASA Deep Impact Mission; as a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, he serves as Parochial Vicar of the Church of St. Philomena in Livingston, NJ, and teaches Mathematics and Computer Science here at Seton Hall.
"I'm honored to have received this award and to teach this course," said Father Laracy. "The Church has long been foundational in scientific inquiry- whether we
speak of the father of genetics, Father Gregor Mendel; a father of
geology, Blessed Nicolas Steno; the father of the Big Bang Theory,
Monsignor Georges Lemaître; or countless other priests who have expanded
and expounded upon the scientific frontier, the Church has been there. This course will help both lay students and seminarians to explore the fundamentals of faith and science, which are not mutually exclusive; in fact, many people are surprised to find just how compatible they are."
"Creation and Science," which will explicate the theology of creation against the backdrop of physical science and Papal teaching over the last three centuries, is naturally situated at Seton Hall, the former academic home of world-renowned author, physicist, philosopher, and theologian Father Stanley Jaki, Distinguished University Professor of Physics and winner of the prestigious Templeton Prize for "his immense contribution to bridging the gap between science and religion, and his making room, in the midst of the most advanced modern science, for deep and genuine faith."
The class begins Thursday, January 14; add-drop registration ends January 19. Students interested in taking the course may contact Dianne Traflet, associate dean for graduate studies and administration, at (973) 761-9353 for registration information and procedures.
About Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology
As a House of Formation, Immaculate Conception Seminary offers men preparing for the priesthood the personal, academic, ministerial and spiritual formation essential for their conversion to Jesus Christ and for their commitment to a life of service to the Church.
As a School of Theology, the Seminary provides a theological and philosophical foundation for men and women pursuing undergraduate studies; preparing for ministries among the people of God; and varied opportunities for continuing theological education.