A solar eclipse is seen in Ternate, Indonesia, March 9, 2016. (CNS photo/Andre Adrian, EPA)
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The word from some quarters is that the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse is a harbinger of the end times, but one Wisconsin priest hardly thinks so.
Father James Kurzynski, an amateur astronomer, said the cross-country eclipse is an opportunity to reflect on humanity's relationship to creation and build stronger bonds with God while enjoying a rare astronomical event.
The total solar eclipse is the first to be seen from coast to coast since 1918. The 70-mile-wide eclipse path spans the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. Totality begins at mid-morning Pacific time on the West Coast and the moon's shadow races across 14 states in about 90 minutes, ending at mid-afternoon Eastern time.
The celestial event is giving Father Kurzynski, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Menominee, Wisconsin, the opportunity to connect biblical passages that metaphorically describe the darkening of the midday sun, the moon and the stars with a call to welcome God's mercy into their lives.
Father Kurzynski has found references to eclipses in throughout the Bible. From the books of Sirach and Isaiah in the Old Testament to the Book of Revelation at the end of the Bible, such references suggest that ancient people understood that eclipses occurred regularly and used symbolic language to call people to end their sinful ways, Father Kurzynski said.