JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — A priest will bless people from the skies Wednesday afternoon.
The Rev. John Schmitz of the Jefferson City Catholic diocese will depart from the Spirit of St. Louis Airport at 3 p.m. and fly over each local church in the Festus Deanery.
On March 17, the St. Louis Archdiocese made the decision to temporarily suspend public Mass due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Within the Catholic faith, a Eucharistic blessing is considered one of the most powerful blessings one can receive," a press release for the event said. "Since members are unable to receive these blessings because of church closings, bringing Jesus to the people via the skies was an inviting option."
The flight was inspired by Mary Myers of Cedar Hill, who saw a video of a similar flight in Italy and passed it along to the Rev. Dennis Schmidt and Deacon Tom Gerling.
Gerling then called Schmitz, who is a licensed pilot and owns his own plane.
"He happily agreed to offer his time and plane to help perform the blessing from the sky," the release said.
Schmitz, Gerling and a photojournalist with the St. Louis Review will take off together in Schmitz's white and red Cessna Cardinal 177.
"The plan is to pass over each Catholic church in the Festus deanery as those on board extend blessings and prayers for protection from the Coronavirus to all residents below," the release said.
Here is the full flight schedule:
- 3:00 pm: Depart Spirit of St Louis Airport.
- 3:09-3:19 p.m.: St Anthony of Padua in High Ridge; Our Lady Queen of Peace in House Springs; St John in Imperial
- 3:25-3:35 p.m.: Immaculate Conception, Arnold; St David in Arnold; St Joseph in Imperial
- 3:43-3:53 p.m.: Our Lady, Festus; Sacred Heart, Crystal City
- 3:58-4:08 p.m.: Good Shepherd in Hillsboro; St. Rose of Lima in DeSoto
- 4:15-4:25 p.m.: St. Francis of Assisi in Luebbering; St Stephen in Richwoods
- 4:52 p.m.: Return to Spirit of St. Louis Airport
The flyover will be livestreamed on the St. Louis Review's Facebook page.
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