When you think of priests, you rarely associate them with social media. But Father Tim Pelc has become a viral sensation thanks to his unique way of upholding social distancing standards while delivering his service.
Thanks to his crafty use of a squirt gun to douse churchgoers in holy water, the Michigan priest has become a popular meme.
Parishioner Larry Peplin took photos of Pelc, and they started to become a highly-discussed topic when St. Ambrose Parish posted them on Facebook, which can be seen below.
However, the squirt gun-wielding priest has officially gone viral thanks to Twitter and even Reddit, where Photoshop enthusiasts have exercised creative freedom to turn this seemingly good deed into a belly-busting moment.
The 70-year-old has served at the same Detroit parish for three decades. While he probably didn’t earn a ton of love from traditionalists, his congregation had no issue with his unique delivery method.
“The original idea was to do something for the kids of the parish,” Pelc told BuzzFeed News. “They were about ready to have an Easter unlike any of their past, so I thought, What can we still do that would observe all the protocols of social distancing?”
Before Pelc pulled out the water pistol, he made sure to consult with an emergency room doctor to make sure he didn’t compromise anyone’s safety.
“He said, ‘Not only is this safe, this is fun,’ and he came with his kids.
He provided me with all the personal protection stuff that I needed. The sun was out. We had a nice turnout. It was a way of continuing an ancient custom, and people seemed to enjoy it.”
Incredibly, the priest has turned into a meme that’s stretched well outside the United States. It reached parts of Europe, including the Ukraine and Germany.
Including spaghetti westerns…
And video games…
However, Pelc’s parish has also spread awareness about the harsh toll of the COVID-19 pandemic by tying blue ribbons around trees on the church’s property to represent the staggering number of deaths. St. Ambrose Parish shared their unique way of honoring victims on Facebook.
Ultimately, Father Pelc not only delivered holy water to his loyal parishioners but he also has become a source of laughter for a world that certainly needs a reason to smile.