Italian nuns set up inflatable church to save the souls of beach goers. The 100-foot-long church will be set up on Saturday and is to be manned by a team of priests waiting to hear confession, give mass and sing holy music.
"There will be four or five people singing, with music about God," said Chiara Facci from the Catholic group Sentinelli del Mattino, which is putting up the blow-up church. A night-time mass, competing with the more worldly attractions of local night clubs and bars, will take place between 10pm and 1am.
The Catholic church is trying to counteract the holiday effect of the Italian summer, when large cities empty and holidaymakers head for the beach. With businesses already suffering the holiday effect, churches want to make sure the travelling faithful do not leave their sense of piety and devotion at home.
The inflatable church is not the only such effort. Near Naples a group of nuns have relocated to beach cabins to help tourists say the rosary with an altar set up between tents. "The concept of a beach-convent is something that is appreciated by vacationers and the nuns themselves," said priest Antonio Rungi.
I must confess to struggling a bit with the concept. On one level it seems rather tasteless, but then again it is a creative way to reach people where they are.
Christ promised us he would be where there are two or three gathered in his name I guess that also means...inflatable churches! They would need to be real careful if they use incense and candles ... and be concious of hungry, pesky seagulls!
So many questions pop up in my head; can folks go in their tangas? ...whatever will the nuns wear? Will priests be in bathing suits or some kind of summer liturgical attire..that's a scary thought! Hmmm... I wonder?