Lester: The rundown on how Mundelein rector mixes faith, physics

 
 
Updated 9/21/2015 10:30 AM
Editor's note: This story was updated to correct that ABC7 did not host the retirement party for Paul Meincke.

While some leading scientists such as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking are atheists, the astrophysicist newly appointed to head Mundelein Seminary says his faith helps fuel his research, and vice versa.

The Rev. John Kartje, rector of Mundelein Seminary.
  The Rev. John Kartje, rector of Mundelein Seminary. - Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

The Rev. John Kartje was a 32-year-old doctoral student at the University of Chicago grappling with his Catholic faith before he committed to enter the seminary, he told me in a rare interview.

Volunteering in hospitals as a Eucharistic minister, he began to observe and contemplate the effects of faith on those who were physically suffering.

"It was data, it was experiences," he said. "In some cases it was mind boggling how powerful that was for people."

Lesson plan

Kartje, 50, is the Archdiocese of Chicago's lone astrophysicist and a faculty member at the seminary since 2009. He regularly preaches about the "care of creation" -- reconciling scientific theory of evolution with the belief that God placed humans in the world to care for it.

"I say to students, you're peering into the mystery at some level," he said. "Scientific knowledge is just one aspect of how we learn about the world around us."

Kartje, known by students for his long, solitary runs around campus -- the time he says he thinks best -- replaces the Rev. Robert Barron, who was named by Pope Francis to head the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Kartje was awarded a $10,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation to develop a course for students centering around his theory science and religion are not mutually exclusive.

Murphy bids for Kotowski's seat

Former Des Plaines Alderman Laura Murphy wants Mayor Matt Bogusz's blessing in her bid to replace resigning Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski, but he's not giving it just yet.

Murphy emerged as a front-runner after Kotowski announced he'll be stepping down to head the nonprofit ChildServ in three weeks. But some township committeemen are pulling for Bogusz.

Bogusz says he's focused on supporting a candidate who can best represent the needs of Des Plaines. But he stops short of saying he's not interested in the post.

Township Democratic Party chairmen representing Kotowski's 28th District will select a replacement through a weighted vote based on the most party votes cast in their townships in the last primary election.

End of an era

News partner ABC7's Paul Meincke will be spending more free time in his hometown of Des Plaines after the respected veteran reporter retired from full-time news on Friday, after 43 years in the business. Meincke marked the occasion with a bash at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse attended by droves of journalists from news outlets around town.

He was toasted by fellow newsmen Chuck Goudie, Ben Bradley and Phil Rogers, among others. Bradley, a good friend of mine, tells me station staffers chipped in to buy Meincke wood working tools. His (semi) retirement plans include yet another cross country bicycle trip and paddling down the Mississippi with a Des Plaines friend and neighbor.

He plans to contribute reports from time to time, noting that the news business is "in his blood."

Band of brothers

Actor Bill Murray and his five brothers -- whose experiences as caddies at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka inspired the 1980 comedy classic "Caddyshack" -- were inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame last week at the 2015 BMW Championship.
Actor Bill Murray and his five brothers -- whose experiences as caddies at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka inspired the 1980 comedy classic "Caddyshack" -- were inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame last week at the 2015 BMW Championship. - Courtesy of the Western Golf Association

Actor Bill Murray and his five brothers -- whose experiences as caddies at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka inspired the 1980 comedy classic "Caddyshack" -- were inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame at the 2015 BMW Championship following their participation Wednesday in the Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest.

During the induction ceremony, the six brothers -- Bill, Andy, Brian, Ed, Joel and John -- discussed their caddie days, their family and golf.

"A good caddie makes a member feel like part of a team and like you're trying to accomplish something together," said Ed Murray, the only of the Murray brothers to win the Evans Scholarship.

Bill Murray said, "It's an ability to look at a player when he hits a bad shot and go, 'Ehhhh …. it happens.' And when he hits a good shot, you go, 'Well, that's really who you are.'"

Surprise stop

Peter S., a client of Lambs Farm, with Billy Corgan, right, of the Smashing Pumpkins.
Peter S., a client of Lambs Farm, with Billy Corgan, right, of the Smashing Pumpkins. - courtesy of Lambs Farm

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan made a surprise stop at Lambs Farm during the Libertyville nonprofit's fall tent sale last weekend.

Corgan grew up in Glendale Heights with a developmentally disabled brother and supports organizations such as Lambs Farm. Officials say he took time to pose with a number of the residents.

Getting there

Geneva-born triathlete Ben Kanute made a strong 20th place finish at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago Saturday. He'll keep working for an Olympic spot over the coming months but says he's pleased with the results.

Selfie

Selfie: Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig took this one for us in his village office.
Selfie: Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig took this one for us in his village office. - Courtesy of Rod Craig

Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig took this one for us in his village office.

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