By Francesca Merlo
“Fifty years ago, yesterday”, Pope Francis said on Sunday, “Man set foot on the moon, achieving an extraordinary dream.”
Addressing the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, the Pope expressed his hope that the memory of “that great step for humanity” might spark the desire to reach even “greater goals”.
Those he named were “more dignity for the weak, more justice among peoples, and more future for our common home.”
Pope St. Paul VI, who expressed much interest in space travel and spent lots of time at the Vatican Observatory, was Pope on 20 July 1969. On that night, along with millions worldwide he watched Neil Armstrong become the first man to set foot on the moon.
Fifty years later, Pope Francis has dedicated much of his pontificate to the fight for the rights of those who are most vulnerable in today’s society as well as for the care of our common home.
He has expressed, on numerous occasions, through both words and actions, his desire to help those in need: migrants, the poor, the ill, the elderly and our planet – our common home.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic moon landing, therefore, Pope Francis shared his hopes for the future and that people worldwide might be inspired by this historic achievement to pursue these fights, and to reach, as humankind did 50 years ago, other extraordinary dreams.