Father Tim Pelc of St. Ambrose Parish in Michigan has been turned into a meme after photos emerged of him using a squirt gun at his socially-distanced Holy Week service.
The photos attracted plenty of attention online when they were posted to the church's Facebook page. They've since gone viral on Twitter and even been shared on Reddit's Photoshop Battle subreddit.
"The original idea was to do something for the kids of the parish," Pelc told BuzzFeed News. "They were about ready to have an Easter unlike any of their past, so I thought, what can we still do that would observe all the protocols of social distancing?"
Pelc came up with the idea to bless parishioners using holy water from a squirt gun. After consulting with a doctor to make sure it was safe, the plan went ahead.
"He said, 'not only is this safe, this is fun,' and he came with his kids," Pelc said. "He provided me with all the personal protection stuff that I needed. The sun was out, we had a nice turnout. It was a way of continuing an ancient custom, and people seemed to enjoy it."
"It was a good news story and people were in the mood for something like that," Pelc said after the photos went viral online.
"It was big in Ukraine, and the Germans are funny, that led to a whole sub discussion about the types of water pistols," he added. "It even had two hits in the Vatican, which sort of concerned me but I haven’t heard anything yet."
And of course, the people of Reddit turned it into a meme.
“People wanted to have a bright side to the things that are happening in the world right now," Christine Busque, who managed the church's Facebook page, said. "They saw that, and I think they saw that he cared about his parishioners enough to want to keep his traditions alive but work [within] the CDC guidelines of being safe."
"I’m not objecting to it, this whole idea of combating evil is a good one," Pelc said. "When Jesus dies he doesn’t just lay around doing nothing, he goes down to hell and kicks the doors in, he really wrestles with evil. We all want to believe that the devil is not the most powerful force on the earth and neither is COVID-19."
"Detroiters are taking lockdown very seriously," Pelc continued. "Michigan’s got a public face of a lot of people with their assault rifles protesting, but here in south eastern Michigan that’s not the mood I’m getting."
We're glad that Father Pelc sees the fun side of the Internet.
Michigan currently had over 50,000 cases of coronavirus, as well as at least 4,800 deaths.
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