A priest in Ireland employed an innovative method to extend his Thursday blessings to parishioners on Easter by riding around the rural town in a vintage ‘popemobile’, an old white open-roofed vehicle from the 1980s. Father Malachy Conlon was seen going around greeting the locals despite the coronavirus lockdown, while he maintained social distancing protocols from behind a lowered protective shield, confirmed media reports.
Father Conlon’s vehicle was used by Pope John Paul II and has been a centrepiece of papal motorcades in times when the head of the Roman Catholic Church travelled around the world. The vintage automobile was used in the 80s to take trips to Britain and South Africa and was parked in the garage of a local parishioner, who had later purchased it, the County Louth priest told the international media.
Ireland reportedly enforced home confinement measures on March 27 to slow down the transmission rate of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 disease. Conlon had issued orders prohibiting his congregation from gathering in large numbers for Easter, instead, he directed them to receive his blessings on the roadside while maintaining social distance.
According to reports, Conlon rode on the rare vintage vehicle and showered Easter blessings from afar. Speaking about the incident with the international media, he said that the pastoral council had wanted to reach out to the people at such challenging times, and therefore, the idea of the vehicle came up. It was unplanned and was thought of in a spur of the moment, he added. It took at least a six-hour drive for him to reach the northeastern coastal region.
Further adding to the statement, Conlon said that he met huge crowds of people, and he was touched to witness such a massive turnout. He told the media that he hadn’t ever received the torrent of messages that he had that evening. He added that people connected and appreciated each other despite social distancing during the lockdown and amid the tough times that the country was standing up to.