Mike Hopkins was raised in a Protestant family, but married a Catholic woman. Though they were raising their two daughters as Catholics, he wasn’t sure it was for him right away, until he said he “felt that something was missing in my life.”
After a period of discernment, he eventually joined RCIA and was received into full communion in the Catholic Church. But that raised a question for him when he was sent to the International Space Station as an astronaut in 2013 for 24 weeks: how would he receive the Sacraments?
He couldn’t celebrate Mass or do Reconciliation without a priest. But he would be able to receive the Eucharist if he took consecrated host with him to space.
With the help of his pastor, Fr. James H. Kaczynski of the St. Mary Church in Texas, he got special permission from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to carry 6 consecrated hosts (which can be split into 4 pieces each) in a pyx into space to consume once a week while on the International Space Station.
|Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston|
Let's go to the Rulebook (General Instruction of the Roman Missal - G.I.R.M.):
160. The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.
The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another. The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.
But this is a kinda special case. I mean, I would be glad to fly up there and act as Extraordinary Minister. But either the Archbishop made the decision or took it to the higher ups in Rome.
But as Father Z. points out:
I’ll bet they dispensed from having a candle burning in the place of reservation.