Science and Religion Come Together at Donovan Catholic

Photo Left to right: Mike Lacy, Michael Santos, Mary Beth DeBlasio and Kenneth Oliver

A team of four teachers from Donovan Catholic High School participated in the Science & Religion Seminars in June, an initiative exploring the interface of science and religion at the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life.

Besides hearing from scholars in religion and the sciences, teachers from high schools around the country who participated in this year’s Science & Religion Seminars gathered to design innovative lesson plans that will help students see the interface between subjects they might have thought had nothing in common.

Donovan faculty members Mary Beth DeBlasio, Michael Santos, Mike Lacy and Kenneth Oliver, represented their school at the weeklong Foundation Seminar. Unique among the seminar attendees, the Donovan Catholic team participated entirely online.

In lectures and workshops, these teachers worked remotely with leading researchers – including Dr. Karin Öberg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics – and other educators from 25 Catholic high schools across the nation selected for the sessions. They collaborated to create lesson plans for exploring the relationship between science and religion with their students.

When our high schools excel at exploring that interface, students take two giant steps forward,” said Jay Martin, co-director of the initiative, along with Patricia Bellm at Notre Dame’s nationally known McGrath Institute that helps bridge the academy and the Church. “The students gain theological insights grounded in reason, plus scientific knowledge that boosts them toward faith-filled lives, as well as tomorrow’s careers.

The initiative assists schools in expanding the coordination among teachers and principals. Selected from approximately  60 Catholic schools that applied for this summer’s Foundations Seminar, the Donovan Catholic team joined with other participants to better understand the coherent pursuit of truth that spans different high school subjects, the leaders of the initiative said.

Twin sessions of the Foundations Seminar, one held on the Notre Dame campus and one in New Orleans, prepared educators to return to their schools this fall as advocates among their colleagues, ready to implement new lesson plans.

Our resources help to produce effective plans that nourish the Catholic imagination and allow science and religion teachers alike to feel comfortable in their own skin, said Bellm of the McGrath Institute.

Participants heard experts in biology, chemistry, physics, and theology shed new light on the compatibility of modern science and the Catholic faith.

Our school is incredibly blessed to have teachers who view what they do in their classrooms as a vocation, and not just a job,” said Principal Ed Gere. “Their commitment of time and energy in attending this seminar truly illustrates how they are striving to serve the Church by working toward an authentic integration of science and religion.

The McGrath Institute is now preparing for the 2019 Foundations Seminars, as well as the 2019 Capstone Seminars and Institute Days. Go to for information.