Deacon Gary Nosacek doesn’t hesitate when he gets to take his ministry outside the walls of the church.
His most recent adventure July 11 found him floating weightless at 35,000 feet — wearing his clerical collar no less.
It was hardly the edge of space, but for Deacon Nosacek, it was the next best thing. And it ticked off a bucket list item he has eyed since childhood.
In doing so he became the first ordained Catholic clergyman to experience zero gravity, or zero-g.
The opportunity came with the Zero Gravity Corp., or Zero-G, the only U.S. company certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to take the general public into the sky to experience what astronauts experience in Earth orbit.
“I wanted to do it since 2002,” said Deacon Nosacek, 66, who was ordained in 2014 and ministers at Three Holy Women Parish in Milwaukee.
The Russians in the early 2000s offered a flight that flew high enough to see the distinct curvature of the earth. But the $18,000 price tag plus the expense of getting to Russia was too steep for the onetime children’s radio show host.
When he learned about the Zero-G company’s series of flights from airports around the country, he knew he had to sign up. Convincing his wife, Cindy, a retired family practice physician, was easy.
“She knew that since 2002 I’ve been whining about not being able to go to Russia, so she was not surprised when I told I wanted to do this,” Deacon Nosacek told Catholic News Service.