Blow-up church looks to lure Italian beachgoers
- 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 organiser 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
organisers 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
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
"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.
(Reporting by Olivia Scarlett and Phil Stewart, editing by Mary