Louisiana parish uses plane to bless town with 100 gallons of holy water

(iStock)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Members of St. Anne Parish in Cow Island, Louisiana, gave their neighbors a Christmas blessing from the heavens, so to speak.

Working with a local crop-dusting service, a young parishioner, 70 other parishioners and their pastor, Father Matthew Barzare, coordinated to have holy water sprayed Dec. 21 over the unincorporated community and nearby farms about 30 miles southeast of Lafayette.

Advertisement

About 100 gallons of water, blessed by Father Barzare, were used in giving the spiritual gift to the residents. The parish, a school and other important places in Cow Island received a light spray of water.

"It's one of those ways to ask God's blessing upon our community, upon our land. We're very much tied to our land in Louisiana," Father Barzare, 32, told Catholic News Service.

[Don’t miss the latest news from the church and the world. Sign up for our daily newsletter.]

The flying service has asked to remain anonymous.

Parishioners in the community in the Diocese of Lafayette provided the water from their homes and other sources and Father Barzare blessed their contributions. Parishioners gathered for Mass first and then participated in a brief prayer service during where the plane and water were blessed before going airborne.

The flight was the idea of parishioner LeRyn Detraz, 23, who now is working with the Damascus Catholic Mission Campus in central Ohio.

"She wanted to bring the community together," said Father Barzare. "I said let's roll with it."

Detraz said the idea to do something for her hometown community came during prayer.

"I was in Ohio and my heart was breaking for our community (in Cow Island). I was carrying a little bit of guilt maybe being a missionary in Ohio and felt I should be doing missionary work in Louisiana," she said.

The project took a couple of months to organize and the timing of the flight matched the timetable of when priests traditionally bless farmlands in southern Louisiana.

crop-duster

Parishioners of St. Anne Church in Cow Island, La., stand next to the crop duster that had 100 gallons of holy water on it to bless the nearby farms and town. (CNS photo/social media, Diocese of Lafayette)

Farmers raise wheat, rice and sugar cane in the growing season and use the land to farm crayfish beginning in the fall around Thanksgiving, Father Barzare said.

After discussing her idea with Father Barzare, Detraz set off to identify a company that would carry out the plan. The company volunteered its time and services for the effort.

Detraz expressed joy that the project was carried out. She said she plans to return to Cow Island when her two years with Damascus is completed in 2021.

Father Barzare said the community wanted to be assured the tanks being used to hold the blessed water were clean of any chemicals used in crop-dusting.

"We trusted the business to decontaminate it," he said.

The priest does not expect the blessing to be a one-off event, saying, "We want to do it annually."

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

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The setting of “West Side Story” is San Juan Hill, the nickname of the Lincoln Square area of Upper West Side of Manhattan—an area bulldozed and redeveloped into the Lincoln Center performing arts complex in the early 1960s.
Ryan Di CorpoFebruary 25, 2020
Lent is not the time for hating my body or ignoring it or making it suffer for things that I have done, no matter what the voice of my eating disorder says.
Amanda Martinez BeckFebruary 25, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden departs services at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 23. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernie Sanders may yet unify the Democrats, writes Robert David Sullivan, but there are still questions about what to do if most primary voters oppose him.
Robert David SullivanFebruary 24, 2020
In this last week of Ordinary Time before Lent, take time to reflect on the ordinary blessings in your life and cultivate gratitude for them.
James Martin, S.J.February 24, 2020