Steve Mayer
Steve Mayer

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The religious community that founded the University of Notre Dame and the University of Portland has honored two U.P. science professors for faithful service to the mission “To make God known, loved and served.”

The Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers, announced 13 nationwide Spirit of Holy Cross Awards for 2021. The recognition is given annually to lay collaborators.

Among this year’s honorees are Steve and Shannon Mayer. Steve is a professor of chemistry and Shannon a professor of physics at U.P. Both have taught at the North Portland school since 2002.

The Mayers “wonderfully embody Christianity’s deep and enduring commitments to faith and reason,” says the award citation.

In lectures and organized conversations, they have shared their vision and their lived experience of the harmony between religion and science. “In this way, they are wonderful evangelizers, who teach our Catholic institution how to articulate faith and mission more confidently in the public square,” the citation said.

Shannon co-edited “Awaken the Stars,” a book of reflections from U.P. faculty (including Holy Cross Fathers Patrick Hannon and Charles McCoy) on the themes of awe and wonder, as they describe what they “really teach.” She also co-chairs U.P.’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Mission along with Holy Cross Father James Gallagher.

The relationship between faith and science is the topic frequently when Steve chats with priests, professors, and students, in formal or informal settings.

Currently, each of the Mayers is taking a sabbatical year to study connections between faith and reason, religion and science, and to discover how an institution like U.P. can better integrate its faith-based mission into its endeavors and operations.

The Mayers participate in U.P.’s large liturgical celebrations. Among faculty, Steve is one of the most faithful members of the daily Mass congregation.