Fr Chris captures the spark where science meets theology

By Jordan Grantham, 31 July 2018
Very Rev Chris de Souza VG EV PP, at the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Mass in 2017. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta / Jordan Grantham

 

Fr Chris de Souza is a potent combination of intellect and spirituality, working in the Diocese as Vicar General, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Vice-Rector of the Seminary of the Holy Spirit and Parish Priest of St Oliver Plunkett’s Parish, Harris Park.

A deep sense of faith and desire to talk about God permeated Fr Chris’ childhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

“I’ve always liked to talk to people about faith and God and I think I’ve always had that desire, as a young person,” Fr Chris said.

This is a useful character trait for his areas of responsibility across education and formation, including Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and the Seminary of the Holy Spirit.

RELATED: Parish Profile: Waves of migration and vocation at St Oliver Plunkett’s

Fr Chris received a high level of intellectual and spiritual formation, including his study at the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, which is now incorporated into Trinity College, Dublin.

His intellectual and spiritual capacities were both engaged by his study and research into the theology of physics, which focused on quantum mechanics and Christian spirituality.

“I’d been a priest for six years when Bishop Bede sent me to study,” he said. “I was very interested at that time in subatomic matter, the wave particle paradox. Science’s version of mystery is called a paradox.”

Fr Chris is inspired by one of Pope St John Paul II’s writings on science and religion.

Pope St John Paul II wrote an extensive letter to the Vatican Observatory on the 300thanniversary of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, stating: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.”

Faith has been the focus of Fr Chris’ intellectual life, in the thorough study of scientific paradox and theological mystery but he was surprised “when my parents died, how much faith made sense.”

His deeply held faith and sense of contemplation permeate both his private and communal life.

“I like listening to music. I have a very eclectic taste in sacred and solemn, pop and classical music.”

He is drawn to moving music with an emotive quality, whether high spirited, melancholic or reflective in nature.

He is also very interested in the meaning of community and communal spirituality.

“I like praying within a community, one of chief reasons I wanted a parish,” Fr Chris said.

“I need a community to pray with others.”

 

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