Priest uses water pistol to squirt parishioners in socially-distanced blessing

A Roman Catholic priest in a US city is using a water pistol in a bid to maintain social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photos posted on social media by St Ambrose Church in Detroit show Father Tim Pelc shooting holy water into a car window as it stopped by the steps of the church on Easter.

He wore a mask, face shield and rubber gloves as further precautions against spreading coronavirus.

The photos of the priest at the church in Grosse Pointe Park have inspired memes online.

One shows the 70-year-old priest amid the fires of hell directing the water pistol at devil-like figures.

Fr Pelc told BuzzFeed News for an article over the weekend 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.

Blessing of the Easter Foods, April 11, 2020Adapting to the need for social distancing, St. Ambrose continued it's…

Posted by St. Ambrose Parish on Sunday, April 12, 2020

But, he said: “I haven’t heard anything yet.”

The idea was to find a way to continue a tradition of blessing Easter baskets despite the pandemic.

One photo shows Fr Pelc standing behind a car with its hatchback door up, shooting water at a basket of flowers.

The church and surrounding communities have taken the pandemic seriously, Fr 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.