I heard this story for the first time in my life in a homily during Mass a few weeks back at St. Patrick’s in Rome – an astronaut who had communion on the moon! I had watched the moon landing all those decades ago on television in New York as I was getting ready the following day to sail to Europe. The 50th anniversary is next month! https://www.history.com/news/buzz-aldrin-communion-apollo-11-nasa
I never did sleep because, in addition to being riveted by the moon-landing story, I had to grade the final test papers of my four French classes at the Academy of the Holy Names and place all the grades and tests in a big envelope to mail the next morning to the academy. I had received special permission to take the tests off of school property given the proximity of the final school day to my sailing date for Europe.
The scary part of that hot July night was never the moon landing. It was when I checked into the hotel and realized the huge folder with all my test papers had been left in the taxi! I think I prayed a novena of thanksgiving for that honest taxi driver who remembered at what hotel he had dropped me off!
FYI: For those hungry for news from the Pontifical Council for Culture (soon to be merged with who knows what other Vatican office to then become a dicastery, according to rumors about the overhaul of the Roman Curia), here you go:
FYI 2: Today’s weekly general Wednesday audience was the last one until early August as July is the month in which Pope Francis has been traditionally reducing his schedule vis a vis private audiences and general audiences. He is, however, scheduled to appear at his study window on Sundays for the noon Angelus in July.
FYI 3: The news about the papal trip to Japan in November has not been confirmed by the Holy See but I’m sure it will be soon. I have been to a number of events recently where the Japanese ambassador to the Holy See was present. At one event, about 4 or 5 weeks ago, when asked about a possible trip, he said he knew only that the Pope wanted to go to Japan but did not know specific dates.
THE EARLY CHURCH, A PARADIGM FOR ALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES
This morning, before going to a sun-splashed and very hot St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience, Pope Francis stopped by the Paul VI Hall to greet those pilgrims who were ill and could not be in the square.
“Today,” said Francis, “you came here because it’s too hot outside, too hot … It’s quieter here and you can see the audience well on the (television) screen. There will be two communities: that of the square, together with you. You are definitely attending the audience! Surely they will accommodate you to be able to see the screen well. And now, I give you my blessing, to everyone.”
Later, in the square, the Holy Father began the weekly catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, noting that, “we now consider the way of life of the first Christian community. Saint Luke presents the Church of Jerusalem, gathered in response to the Apostles’ preaching, as the paradigm of all Christian communities. As brothers and sisters in Christ, the first believers “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
“Luke,” the Pope explained, “portrays a community united in prayer, fraternity, charity and concern for those in need. In every age, the Church is called to be the leaven of a reconciled humanity and the foreshadowing of a world of authentic justice and peace. In this way, she is enabled to live an authentic liturgical life, experiencing the Risen Lord’s presence in prayer and in the Eucharist, in order then to bring that saving love to the world.
Francis concluded by saying, “like the early Church gathered around the Apostles, may our communities increasingly become places of deep prayer, encounter with the Lord and fellowship with our brothers and sisters, doors that open to the communion of the saints and the heavenly Jerusalem!”
In greetings following the English language summary of the papal catechesis, the Pope acknowledged visitors from England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Japan, Guam and the United States. Archbishops from Australia, the United States and Guam are scheduled to receive the pallium this coming Saturday, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.
POPE TO VISIT JAPAN IN NOVEMBER
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Pope Francis will visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki on November 24, on the occasion of his four-day apostolic trip to Japan. The pontiff will offer prayers for the victims of the atomic attacks on the two cities, which took place in 1945 at the hands of US aviation during the Second World War. The Japanese media reported this, citing sources close to the organization of the trip.
Last January 23, it was Francis himself who announced the trip, on the flight that was taking him to Panama for the celebration of the 34th World Youth Day (WYD). A few days after the announcement of the apostolic journey, Japanese Catholics invited the pope to launch a message against nuclear weapons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
According to rumors, the Pope plans to meet the atomic bomb survivors on the second day of his visit, which opens on November 23rd. Francis’ journey will be the second of a pontiff to the Land of the Rising Sun after John Paul II in February 1981. The pontiff will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo, and will celebrate Mass at the Tokyo Dome stadium on November 25th.
Government sources report that the Pope sent letters to the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to the governor of the Hiroshima prefecture last May, promising to offer prayers for their citizens. Officials had extended the invitation to visit the two cities during an audience in the Vatican.