Although the Netherlands is currently well-represented in space, as astronaut André Kuipers is one of six crew members of the International Space Station, soon the burgeoning space tourism industry could increase the Dutch representation, and the Catholic one too.
Free daily newspaper Metro is in the process of running a contest that allows to winner to make a short hop into space from a space port on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. The number of contestants has been narrowed down to 20, and among them is Father Anton ten Klooster, priest of the Archdiocese of Utrecht. In his own words on the contest website:
“Metro is sending someone into the heavens! You might as well immediately send a priest, who already has his contacts there. The Netherlands has the chance to be the first country in the world to do this. And you have to admit: no one would expect that from US, right? Surprise the world, vote for me :)”
Voting is now closed, so all we can do is wait until tomorrow and see if the numbers of votes cast and Fr. ten Klooster’s motivation will lead, via an international finale, to the first cleric in space.
Artwork credit: Fr. Roderick/SQPN