Grosse Pointe Priest Goes Viral with Squirt Gun Blessing

Socially Distant Holy Water

May 19, 2020
Holy Water

Getty Images Jack Kurtz / Stringer

You may have seen this local story from Easter Sunday about the Catholic Priest blessing Easter baskets from a distance with a squirt gun. The church is St. Ambrose in Grosse Pointe which you may remember from the Clint Eastwood movie "Gran Torino".

The story has actually recieved attention from around the world.

Fr. Pelc has issued this statement in response to myriad requests for interviews and comments:

"The original idea came as we were planning to celebrate Easter without a congregation.  I looked for a way that we could give kids and their families some degree of a normal Easter.  And for a kid, an Easter Basket is part of the season.  Blessing of Easter foods is also a custom of many European Catholics and those who have been transplanted to America. 

Social distancing meant that the regular way of blessing a basket (in the church building) using a Holy Water Bucket and Sprinkler would not qualify as a safe practice.  I consulted with the head of a local hospital emergency room about safe practices.  He not only gave it his OK, but provided the PPE and showed up with his family to have a basket blessed. 

The initial wave of publicity happened at Easter.  There was a lot of pent-up need for a “good news story” and Easter is supposed to be Good News!  What’s remarkable is that there was a surprising lack of negative comments on the internet.  That’s miraculous in and of itself.

The shock was that there was a rebound a month later.  I suspect it was fueled by a Photoshop contest.  I’ve got to admit that I am enjoying the creative ways our photos have been used. 

The powers of God vs. the powers of evil is certainly a Christian theme, and the photoshop people have locked into that.  It reminds me of some Medieval Iconographic art wherein Christ descends to the nether world, kicks down the door of death and rescues the souls of those who have been waiting for his resurrection. 

I am stupefied at the attention.  This comes from a guy who won’t let his photo be used in his parish paper because it’s “not about me.” 

I’ve written about this in our parish bulletin – I think the Sunday or two after Easter.  You can access the back issues on our parish website. Thanks."