Beach Blanket Bingo, too…?

Check this out this Reuters piece about a blow-up church (real deal, Catholic and consecrated) and convent for a bit of beach ministry in Italy:

ROME (Reuters) – Catholic nuns and priests in Italy are following their flocks to the beach this summer, establishing an inflatable church and a beach-convent in the sands to lure sunbathers.
The 30-metre (98 ft) long blow-up church — staffed by priests ready to take confession — will debut on Saturday on the Adriatic coast in the Molise region, an organizer said.
“There will be four or five people singing, with music about God,” said Chiara Facci with Catholic group Sentinelli del Mattino. Night time activities, which will not include Mass, will run from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The first attempt to inaugurate the inflatable church last month on the holiday island of Sardinia failed after strong winds forced organizers to relocate, she said.
Big cities like Rome and Milan empty in August, when Italians head to the beach for summer holidays, leaving streets empty and many businesses closed. Churches are hardly immune, and also see their congregations thin.
On the Mediterranean coast, nuns from a convent near the southern Italian city of Naples have relocated to beach cabins to join holidaymakers saying the rosary. An adjoining altar was set up under two tents.
“The concept of a beach-convent is something that is appreciated by vacationers and the nuns themselves,” priest Antonio Rungi, who helped spearheaded the initiative, told Italian news agency ANSA.

No luck finding a photo yet.

Comments read comments(5)
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C Parke

posted August 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm

I’d love to see a picture of this inflatable church. I keep picturing a variation on the “bouncy castle” rentals for birthday parties.

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posted August 5, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Can we get something like this for the various denominational conventions and synods? It would be great if, as we are bouncing off the walls with theological and sociological minutae if we could have fun doing it!

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David Gibson

posted August 5, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Heck, CParke–it’s almost as much fun as getting married under water!

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted August 5, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Hey, Dave…
If you Google “inflatable church” you’ll find the British company that makes these things. And lots of pictures.
I posted on it here:

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posted August 7, 2008 at 11:59 pm

“Wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name, there am I.”
We attended Mass in a draped-off corner of a display hall at an RV Convention in the Pomona Agri-Plex last January. Standing room only.
My ancestors attended Mass around a rock in a field when it was illegal in Ireland and the priest had a price on his head.
Many of us have seen these inflatable churches, used before a new building was constructed.
…where the people are…

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