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Paul VI, Message delivered to the Astronauts of Apollo 11

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On this day 50 years ago, Apollo 11 was launched at 9:32 a.m. The crew of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins left earth that day on their way to the Moon. This would be the first attempt to land man on the moon. They also carried with them a message from Pope Paul VI as he dedicated Psalm 8 to the Apollo XI astronauts. The message was sent by the Pope to be left on the Moon by the astronauts, along with the messages from Heads of State of many UN countries. The Holy Father blessed the Apollo Moon-landing, upholding the Vatican’s tradition of support for science, astronomy and the application of human reason.

Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
I will sing of your majesty above the heavens
with the mouths of babes and infants.
You have established a bulwark against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger.
When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place—
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and a son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than a god,
crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
put all things at his feet:
All sheep and oxen,
even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!

To the glory of God’s name who grants such great power to men, we pray for the success of this wonderful undertaking. Paulus PP VI AD 1969 (Handwritten in Latin by the Pope, under the Latin text of the Psalm)

Pope Paul VI watches on television the first manned lunar landing July 21, 1969, at the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. (CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo) (July 20, 2009)
Pope Paul VI watches on television the first manned lunar landing July 21, 1969, at the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. (CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo) (July 20, 2009)

After the landing Pope Paul VI delivered this message:

Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will!

Christ, when coming among us from the abysses of the divinity, made this blessed voice resound in the firmament. Today We, his humble representative, echo and repeat it as a festive hymn on the part of our whole terrestrial globe, no longer the insurmountable boundary of human existence but the open threshold to the wide expanse of boundless space and new destinies.

Glory to God!

And honour to you, the architects of this great space undertaking! Honour to the men responsible to the scientists, the planners, the organizers, and the technicians who made it a reality! Honour to all those who have made possible this most daring flight. Honour to all of you who in any way played a part. Honour to you who, seated at your marvellous instruments, control the flight; to you whom inform the world of the enterprise and its time-table, which extends to the depths of the heavens the wise and bold dominion of man.

Honour, greetings and blessings!

Here, from His Observatory at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, Pope Paul the Sixth is speaking to you astronauts.

Honour, greetings and blessing to you, conquerors of the Moon, pale lamp of our nights and our dreams! Bring to her, with your living presence, the voice of the spirit, a hymn to God, our Creator and our Father.

We are close to you, with our good wishes and with our prayers. Together with the whole Catholic Church, Paul the Sixth salutes you.

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