St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, CA || Institute Day 2018

Sunday - Monday, June 3-4, 2018  ||  Institute Day



Mutual Accountability: Catholic Theology & Scientific Inquiry


The McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, invites Catholic high school teachers from the Bay Area to a 2-day workshop where participants will gain valuable insights for teaching at the interface of science and religion.






Nicanor Astriaco

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.

Professor of Biology

Department of Biology, Providence College

Fr. Austriaco Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. is a Filipino American microbiologist and priest. He is an associate professor of biology and professor of theology at Providence College as well as chief researcher at the Austriaco Laboratory.  The majority of his work focuses on the development of stem cells, cell apoptosis, and the role of science in religions.



Mr. Chris Valdez

Principal & Educator

Marin Catholic High School, Kentfield, CA

Mr. Valdez is in his 22nd year as an educator in the San Francisco Archdiocese and 8th year as Principal of Marin Catholic.  He began his teaching career at Archbishop Riordan High School before heading to Marin Catholic to serve in administration, serving in several capacities including Dean of Students, Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction, and English Teacher.


John Piderit

Rev. John J. Piderit, S.J.

Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Administration, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Fr. Piderit has written about and run programs to help both Catholic high school and college faculty integrate Catholic themes in the ordinary courses they teach. He has taught mathematics (high school and college) and economics (college and graduate school). Currently Fr. Piderit is COO of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.




Melanie Morey

Melanie M. Morey, Ed.D.

Director of the Office of Catholic Identity Assessment and Formation, Associate Superintendent, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Dr. Morey is an educator and administrator in the Archdiocese of San Francisco who does work in the areas of Catholic institutional culture and Catholic intellectual integration in Catholic schools, seminaries, and colleges and universities.






Mutual Accountability: Catholic Theology and Scientific Inquiry

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., a microbiologist (Ph.D., MIT) and moral theologian (S.T.D., University of Fribourg), will speak on the compatibility of science and religion, focusing on direct application to the high school science and theology classroom.  Mr. Chris Valdez is a veteran teacher and administrator in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  In his eighth year as Principal of Marin Catholic, Mr. Valdez will speak to integrating science and religion at the curricular and administrative levels.  Fr. John Piderit, S.J. and Dr. Melanie Morey have been pioneer researchers and leaders in Catholic Education, having co-authored the landmark study Catholic Higher Education: A Culture in Crisis (2006).  The two-day event includes a festive dinner for all participants, speakers, and facilitators, as well as time for personal prayer and reflection and Mass in the seminary chapel.  Lodging for participants is provided by a generous grant from the Esperanza Foundation.


  • First: for science faculty to learn how theological insights can be used to inform some typical science topics and likewise for religion faculty to learn how scientific findings can help inform and enhance their appreciation of God’s creation.
  • Second: to prepare participants to pass this appreciation and these insights on to their students.




Please complete your registration by May 28, 2018 by filling this registration form.


Please make the check out to: Office of Catholic Identity Assessment and Formation


Sunday, June 3

2:00-3:00 PM - Arrival at St. Patrick Seminary & University and registration

3:30-5:00 PM - "Biology and Theology: Points of Contact, I" - Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.

5:15-5:45 PM - Mass in the Seminary Chapel - Fr. John J. Piderit, S.J. (Celebrant)

5:45-6:15 PM - Reception

6:15-7:30 PM - Dinner

7:30-8:30 PM - Introductions and Socializing


Monday, June 4

7:30-8:15 AM - Mass

8:15-8:45 AM - Breakfast

8:45-9:45 AM - "Building an Integrated Science Curriculum" - Mr. Chris Valdez

10:00-10:30 AM - Break

10:30-11:30 AM - "Biology and Theology: Points of Contact, II" - Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM - "Promoting a Catholic Academic Culture" - Mr. Chris Valdez, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, Dr. Melanie Morey

1:00 PM - Concluding Remarks

1:15 PM - Boxed Lunch Pick-Up




Location - Directions

St. Patrick's Seminary,  320 Middlefield Road,  Menlo Park, CA 94025

Click here for directions.


Registration is Required

Through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation, the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, and the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and is free of charge for teachers who register by May 1, 2018.  A $30 late fee is required after that.  To register please click here.  Please indicate whether you would like to reserve accommodations for lodging at the seminary on the registration form.

 For more information, please email, call 617-543-6330 or register for the Institute Day.