What interesting sychronicity! To find a planet a week or so after this announcement by the Pope's astronomer. Of course, I have watched Science Fiction TV programs all my life and I've read all sorts of speculative hard Science Fiction. I watched "Stargate Universe" just last night and they (yet again) gated to a habitable planet, complete with caves and a huge thunderstorm. I've also watched how many Science Fiction programs deal with faith and religion -- from the character Book on "Firefly" to the Ferangi Rules of Aquisition. I've also read "The Sparrow" and "Children of God" by Mary Doria Russell where the concepts of alien culture and religion crash together head on.
I suppose there are several areas for discussion: What makes a race sentient? What are their creation stories? How do they know of God? Is theirs a "fallen race" like humanity? Or (like the People in Zenna Henderson's works) have they always stayed close to the heart of God? If they are not a fallen race, what would baptism into covenant with Jesus Christ mean? Would a non-fallen race be capable of sin? Would we be able even to communicate with them?
It is interesting that so much of our pathos and ethos for new technology is approached in our Science Fiction long before the tech is actualized. Can we explore these concepts within our Sci Fi and get a grasp on them?