A unique way to share a communal blessing.
St. Anne’s Catholic Church ministers to the community of Cow Island, in Louisiana. Despite the name, Cow Island is a landlocked region that spans a 25-mile radius of rural farmland, in which the residents live far apart, separated by the large fields.
Shortly before Christmas, in a bid to bring the congregation together, Fr. Matthew Barzare helped organize a massive, town-wide blessing, which utilized a crop duster to release 100 gallons of holy water over Cow Island. In a Facebook post that documented the event, the Diocese of Lafayette explained:
Fr. Matthew Barzare and parishioners of St. Anne Church in Cow Island enlisted the help of a crop duster pilot to bless their community. They loaded 100 gallons of holy water into the plane and the pilot sprayed the water onto the town and the nearby farms. Parishioners also brought water from home to the airstrip to be blessed by Fr. Barzare.
The post goes on to note that the idea for the blessing came from L’Eryn Detraz, a parishioner of St. Anne’s who is currently working as a missionary in Ohio. , L’Eryn said that she thought of the blessing while considering the struggles of her home parish. She said:
I was up in Ohio. I actually had gone into prayer, praying for my community back here, in Louisiana. My heart was just breaking for our community, because there’s so much here on mission …
In the same interview, Father Barzare spoke about the value that such a blessing had to the community.
“It definitely encourages them in their faith, but also to come together more. To not be isolated.”
More than 35 parishioners came out to the blessing of the holy water, during which they brought their own bottles of water to be blessed. Positive feedback abounds in the comments section of the Facebook post, hailing the creativity and spirituality of the crop dusting blessing.
St. Anne’s has not announced a second annual blessing in 2020, but if they make a tradition of this blessing dusting, then we’re sure it will draw even more of the community to prayer.