Dear Parishioners,

As I've already made clear, I am a geek. But my geekyness isn't solely in the area of computers. It is also in the area of science, specifically astronomy.

It all began as a child. I remember the Apollo mission blasting off at night for a rendezvous with the moon. Any kind of space show or movie really caught my eye. When "Star Wars" came on the scene, well, let's just say I went into overdrive. Would you believe that I dressed up as Darth Vader one Halloween? Ask my sisters if you want to know more scoop on that. In Junior High I took every astronomy and aviation class that was offered. I loved it. But after that, other things caught my attention. It wasn't until almost 20 years later, as a seminarian intern, that I rekindled my passion in astronomy. As I read and learned more, I found out that the science of astronomy has a great debt to the Catholic Church. So, when I graduated from seminary and was ordained, I pooled all my monitary gifts into buying a telescope. I bought what is called a dobsonian mounted reflector, and I have it to this day.

Each summer since being ordained, I have made the trek to Central Oregon to a high plateau just East of Prineville with 600 to 700 other amature astronomers for the Oregon Star Party or OSP. In each of the four nights of this event, I stay up as late as possible gazing heavenward. Several times I had to stop viewing because the sun was coming up. Needless to say, I would most certainly sleep in as long as I wanted and take many naps during the day. In the first weekend of July, the Oregonian published an article about OSP. The article was good, but I quickly took note of the two photos included in the paper, and lo and behold, there was my trailer alongside Fr. Heiko's VW bus (see photo above).

Astronomy reminds me of how big is and how small I am, yet God loves me all the same. It makes me wonder about life on other worlds in the universe. I wonder about the size of things. I am reminded of Psalm 19:1 where we read "the heavens declare the glory of God." I stand in a much more humble place for gazing to the heavens. It is simply amazing how complex and violent it is. Its beauty is beyond my description. I could go on and on.

If you are interested in learning about astronomy but feel too inept or intimidated to take a class on it, try the book that restarted it for me, "Secrets of the Night Sky: The Most Amazing Things in the Universe You Can See with the Naked Eye by Bob Berman. Mr. Berman uses fun factiods and humor to write a wonderful book. If I can dig it our of the books in the garage, I think I may re-read his fantastic work. This week will be a wonderful time to do this as for this week is the OSP. Time to overdose on astronomy! So when you see me after OSP and I look a little tired, well just be nice and say, "Ah! The Oregon Star Party!"


Fr. William Holtzinger