Vocation poster contest asks ‘What would it be like to have Mass on the Moon?’
On May 3, students across the diocese expressed what they think it would be like to have Mass on the moon, as they displayed their artwork at the annual Vocations Awareness Contest Award Ceremony.
“We are very proud of all of the artists and writers in the room who have done such a magnificent job on this topic of Mass on the Moon for the Vocations Poster and Essay Contest,” said Susan Santandreu, co-president of Mary, Mother of Vocations Inc., which helps promote vocations to the priesthood and permanent diaconate.
The theme was chosen to reflect the renewed interest in exploring other planets. The contest winners addressed technical problems such as how to kneel in low gravity, how to burn candles in zero oxygen, and how to build a physical church on the moon.
The awards presentation, which took place at the Catholic Center in downtown Buffalo, honored two students from each grade level from Catholic elementary schools.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher shared his fascination of lunar exploration, explaining that his father had a hand in sending men into outer space. The bishop even had a poster of Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins hanging on his wall next to Baltimore Oriole Brooks Robinson and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“That was an exciting time for me,” Bishop Fisher said of the summer of 1969, recalling watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon for the first time on his Magnavox television. “It was really incredible for me because my father actually worked for (aerospace manufacturer) Martin Marietta, and they made the big booster rockets that took the capsule up into space. He worked for the Mercury, the Gemini, and part of the Apollo space programs. So, growing up my heroes were the astronauts.”
Buzz Aldrin, the second man who walked on the moon, reportedly brought with him a chalice, some wine and a tiny piece of bread, then said a prayer upon landing on the lunar surface.
“Isn’t that something? He wanted to take his faith to the moon. It was a symbol of the Eucharist for him,” Bishop Fisher explained. “This was his way of saying, ‘God has made this all happen. Look at the beauty of space and the beauty of all that God has created.’ I think that’s the wonderful thing about the space program. It opens us up to seeing how magnificent God is. I think that’s what we’re seeing in your work here; these wonderful pieces of art. You’re putting your love of God into trying to understand our science and the incredible things we do as human beings.”
He then congratulated the kids and told them, “Who knows where your talents are going to lead you. They might lead you to Mars.”
Father David Baker, director of Vocations for the Diocese of Buffalo, informed his audience of students and parents that St. Maximilian Kolbe, an early 20th century saint from Poland, envisioned a spacecraft much like the Apollo command and service module.
“He was thinking, how can we extend the message of the Gospel to other places? Even before the astronauts got here, he was thinking, how do we get the Church up there,” Father Baker said.
Father Baker also pointed out that when Mass does take place on the moon, there will be a bishop in place. The bishop of Cape Canaveral, Florida in the diocese of West Palm Beach has also been designated as the bishop of the moon. The Moon Bishop is actually the result of an obscure rule, set out in the 1917 Code of Canon Law that states that any newly discovered land becomes part of the diocese that the expedition set off from.
Kindergarten – Poster
First Place: Jane Mogford, St. John the Baptist School, Kenmore
Honorable Mention: Aubrey Seabert, Sacred Heart Villa School, Lewiston
First Grade – Poster
First Place: Rhylin Haywood, Sacred Heart Villa School, Lewiston
Honorable Mention: Emily Gastle, St. John the Baptist Religious Education, Boston
Second Grade – Poster
First Place: James Benson, St. John the Baptist School, Kenmore
Honorable Mention: Anastasia Bauer, SS. Peter & Paul School, Hamburg
Third Grade – Create a Badge
First Place: Karlee Salzler, SS. Peter & Paul School, Hamburg
Honorable Mention: Charlotte Raepple, Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls
Fourth Grade – Create a Badge
First Place: Elijah Swanson, Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls
Honorable Mention: Scarlett Ferris, St. Joseph Regional School, Batavia
Fifth Grade – Create a Badge
First Place: Augustine Proulx, SS. Joachim & Anne Religious Education, Attica
Honorable Mention: William Tooley, St. John the Baptist School, Kenmore
Sixth Grade – Technical Solution
First Place: Lovella Douglas, Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls
Honorable Mention: Dalton Conrad, St. Joseph Regional School, Batavia
Seventh Grade – Technical Solution
First Place: Pietro Pecoraro, St. John the Baptist School, Kenmore
Honorable Mention: Noah Butera, Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls
Eighth Grade – Technical Solution
First Place: Joel Fontaine, St. John the Baptist School, Alden
Honorable Mention: Carlyn Langer, St. Mary of the Lake Religious Education, Hamburg