Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Faith in Space and Time

I must have missed this edifying Catholic News Agency report a year ago this month. So let's go backwards in time. (CNA / 1.20.10).- The Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of the True Cross have been taken aboard the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), a Russian cosmonaut has reported. A photo taken by the station crew shows an icon and a crucifix floating in zero gravity in the ISS.

Writing on his blog at the website of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Cosmonaut Maksim Suraev responded to readers’ questions about religious symbols on the space station.

“We have four holy icons on the Russia segment. We also have the Gospels and a big cross,” he said, according to a blog entry translated by Russia Today in November 2009.


Russia Today reported that the Lord’s Divine Cross was given to A.N. Merminov, the head of Roscosmos, by the late Patriarch of Moscow Aleksy II. The cross was delivered to the station in 2006 by the crew of Soyuz TMA-8.

Suraev added that he has a reliquary cross in his cabin.

"A priest gave it to me at Baikanur before the launch. Father Job told me a piece of the original cross on which Jesus was crucified is contained in mine."

He added that his cross was blessed in the major monastery of Sergiev Posad.

"It will be with me the whole expedition and will return with me to Earth," the cosmonaut wrote.

Holy relics and other objects have been on previous spaceflights. U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan brought a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux with him on the space shuttle Discovery in 2008. He plans to bring another relic of the saint with him on a mission to the ISS in 2011 [Source: Catholic News Agency]

Astronaut to carry another relic of St. Therese to space in 2011

---from June 25, 2009 (CNA).- U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan, who brought a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux with him on the Discovery space shuttle during his last trip to space, attended Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday audience this week and was greeted by the Pontiff.

In 2011, Garan plans to bring another relic of the saint with him on a mission to the international space station.

According to L’Osservatore Romano, the idea of bringing "a relic came to fruition because of his spiritual bond with the Carmelites of New Caney, Texas."

Garan and his family founded the Manna association (click), a NASA entity which has developed a system for generating potable water for Rwanda and has provided solar panels for schools and hospitals in the country.

--->Purgatory inflames hearts with God's love, Pope says. Pope Benedict continued his recent theme of reflecting on women saints during his weekly audience, highlighting St. Catherine of Genoa and her insights on Purgatory.

The Pope said that St. Catherine – a 15th century Italian mystic – didn't focus on the "torments" of purgatory but rather called it an "interior fire" that purifies and inflames our hearts with God's love...

--->Vatican analyst reports approval of beatification for Pope John Paul II...

--->New Venezuelan laws ignore will of the people, warn bishops. The bishops of Venezuela are heavily criticizing a new law which allows the country's President Hugo Chavez to rule by decree until the middle of 2012...

--->Pope Benedict XVI said he would go to Assisi in October but he did not actually say anything about praying with members of other religions. While Pope Benedict may be more open to interreligious dialogue than some of the most conservative Christians would like, he continues to insist that dialogue must be honest about the differences existing between religions and that joint activities should acknowledge those differences. In the 2003 book, "Truth and Tolerance,"...Continue. See also Sandro Magister's analysis here...

--->Benedict XVI: Against
all syncretism...

Historical Note: Ecumenical prayer, once forbidden, was allowed in limited forms by Pope Pius XII (click).

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