St Ambrose Parish priest Father Timothy R. Pelc continued a long-standing tradition last month with the Blessing of the Easter Food Baskets on the day before Easter, but he did it a little differently in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
Father Tim, as he’s known at the Michigan church, stood outside the church, flanked by Easter lilies, and fired a squirt of holy water from a water pistol as his parishioners brought their baskets by in cars.
It was a different kind of “drive-by shooting,” to be sure.
“You can’t double dip into the holy water container,” Pelc told NBC’s TODAY. “I thought, what could I do that would keep the quarantine restrictions going and give kids the experience of Easter?”
So he hit on the idea of the water gun, consulted with a doctor to make sure everything was safe, then donned gloves and mask along with his usual vestments and headed outside.
Blessing of the Easter Foods, April 11, 2020Adapting to the need for social distancing, St. Ambrose continued it's…
“We didn’t have a lot of notice on it. At noon, the Saturday before Easter, I went out there and there was a line of cars waiting,” he said.
Father Tim went viral, of course, and then became a meme. Several of them, actually.
It’s an internet law: once a post or photo about you goes viral, you must end up in a meme. Now it’s happened to Fr….
Michigan has the fourth highest rate of coronavirus infection in the country with nearly 5,000 deaths and 50,0000 cases reported, according to Buzzfeed. And even as armed men storm the state capitol in protest of Gov Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictions aimed at slowing the spread, Father Tim says that’s not the kind of attitude he’s seeing from his parishioners.
“Detroiters are taking lockdown very seriously,” he said. “Michigan’s got a public face of a lot of people with their assault rifles protesting, but here in southeastern Michigan that’s not the mood I’m getting.”
In fact, he said, he’s been having trouble finding people to help out with a service planned on Sunday — with restrictions, of course.
“People are saying they don’t want to come out just yet,” he said. “There’s still a lot of fear out there and I don’t blame them.”
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[Featured image: St Ambrose Parish/Larry Peplin]