Sun, sand, sea and ....

An inflatable church on a beach on the Adriatic coast of Italy is proving a hit with sunseekers. The BBC has the story - with an explanation by a priest of what’s it all about. Video clip here.

The 30-foot chiesa gonfiabile -- the style is not exactly Baroque -- is the idea of street-evangelising young Catholics called "Morning Sentinels". The sentinelle del mattino are pretty widespread in Italy, according to their website.

Advertisement

The Sentinels describe themselves as a "a network bringing together young people wanting to live the call to be apostles to other young people" and take inspiration from the words of Pope John Paul II in Denver not to be afraid to go out onto the streets and public squares in the manner of the early Christians. Why not beaches too? A fair number of the disciples were recruited from them, after all.

We tend to think of churches as geographically bound, rooted, stable communities, expressed in a building -- and open to passers-by. But a group of people on pilgrimage, say, are a "church", in the sense of a body of Christians. An inflatable church seems to try to square these two ideas: a temporary structure which mimics the real thing, set up in a place of transition, open to all.

It could give rise to a whole new ecclesiology.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A 14-year-old boy receives medical treatment at Suez Canal University hospital in Ismailia, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, after he was in injured during an attack on a mosque (AP Photo/Amr Nabil).
The pope described the attack as a “wanton act of brutality directed at innocent civilians gathered in prayer.”
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 24, 2017
“The Senate proposal is fundamentally flawed as written and requires amendment,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane in a Nov. 22 letter to senators.
Pope Francis greets people at the “Regional Hub,” a government-run processing center for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, in Bologna, Italy, Oct. 1. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)
Although he named no countries, Vatican observers believe he is referring especially to political leaders in several western and eastern European countries.
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 24, 2017
For Thanksgiving, we give you an inside look into what Jesuit basketball teams to watch out for this season.
Olga SeguraNovember 24, 2017