May 21, 2020 12:24 pm

Photos of a Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area using a squirt gun to spray parishioners with holy water in an attempt to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic have gone viral.

The images of Rev. Tim Pelc were shared on social media during Holy Week by the St. Ambrose Church in Gross Pointe Park, Michigan. Although the photos of the 70-year-old priest were originally shared more than five weeks ago, they have since inspired a Reddit photoshop battle and viral memes which the church described as “pretty clever” in a Facebook post.

In the images, Pelc can be seen wearing a mask, face shield and rubber gloves and shooting water into car windows as the vehicles stop by the steps of the church. One photo shows Pelc standing behind a car with its hatchback door up, shooting water at a basket of flowers.

He came up with the idea while trying to find a safe way to continue the tradition of blessing Easter baskets and ensure children had a fun memory of Easter during coronavirus shutdowns.

“I thought, what could I do that would keep the quarantine restrictions going and give kids the experience of Easter?” Pelc told the outlet. “At noon, the Saturday before Easter, I went out there and there was a line of cars waiting.”

Pelc told BuzzFeed News that he was a little concerned about how the Vatican might react when the photos of him squirting holy water began circulating widely on the internet. But, he said, “I haven’t heard anything yet.”

The church and surrounding communities have taken the pandemic seriously, Pelc said. Parishioners have tied blue ribbons on trees at the church for each person who has died of COVID-19 in Michigan. That number is now approaching 5,000.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Nadia Vella