Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



The First Priest in Space

July 23rd, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

As many of you are aware, this past week has marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I confess that I do tend to fit the category of the proverbial “space cadet” and have been watching a lot of old TV coverage and reading a lot of books about the space race lately. In a recently released book I came across this rather interesting quote from one of the people charged with selecting the very first group of astronauts:

“When NASA began looking for astronauts, we spent a long time discussing the psychological requisites necessary for an astronaut, and the result of our discussion was that we ought to look for them among the priests….A young, healthy priest, qualified in engineering, in chemistry, in medicine, in geology, and able to pilot a plane competently” (Rocket Men, Craig Nelson, pp34-5).

I might have to learn a little more in the medicine and geology fields, but as for the rest I think I fit the bill very nicely. If anyone from NASA is out there reading, I recommend revisiting this initial wisdom. To think that if we had started the space program today I could have been one of the first Mercury astronauts! I thought getting my pilot’s license would be as close as I ever got to space, but now I have new hope. Therefore…

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the next decade is out, of landing a priest on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

If you thought “man on the moon” was impressive, just wait until you experience “Mass on the moon”!

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