A day at the beach!

An inflatable sanctuary with cross, altar, seating for the the assembly. Check the video link below for a better look.

I've been at the shore for a week now but haven't seen anything like this!

H/T to Todd at Catholic Sensibility for bringing attention to this Italian Catholic ministry to vacationers at the beach.

Here's a link to a BBC video report on this spiritual outreach. Take a look at Todd's post where he quotes some of the nay-sayers who apparently can't countenance "praying outside the box."




  1. When Jesus was on earth he ministered to the people wherever they were! (on a mountain top, in a boat, etc.) I see no problem with this idea of Church on the Beach. The fact that the people show up there is the most important.

  2. Anonymous is right, Christ did minister to the people wherever they were. And I see nothing wrong with the church on the beach, in fact it's a great idea. However, the priest in the video comments that it is hard for young people to get to church. C'mon, they went through the "rigors" of finding time and transportation to get to the beach (properly dressed for the location) so couldn't they invest as much in getting to a church if it were a priority in their lives? Still, it is good ministering and one can hope the kids stay involved enough so they remain part of Christ's Church.

  3. This looks somewhat like the Hatch Shell. Has there ever been a mass at the Hatch Shell? I know there have been a number of masses on the Boston Common. Would be interesting to see if the Esplanade sunbathers and Charles River boaters would be attracted to an outdoor mass at the Hatch Shell. Cardinal Sean was a featured speaker at one of the Theology on Tap sessions held at a bar. I suppose to reach some young people you have to think outside the box.

    As for me, for many summers when my family vacationed at what is now North Myrtle Beach, SC, we attended mass at the Ocean Drive movie theater because at the time there was no Catholic church. Kneeling on popcorn boxes was the order of the day! This unique venue for mass added to the overall vacation experience. As mass at the OD movie theater is a fond memory for me, I imagine mass at the inflatable church will become a fond memory one day for the young people who attend mass there.

  4. I wonder what the "Boys of Summer" think about mass on the beaches of Italy! Wish that had been one of the questions to the pope. Since he had just returned from World Youth Day Down Under, he might have given a very favorable reply!

  5. In Australia the pope celebrated Mass at a race track - the beach seems tame by comparison!

  6. In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity... even for nay-sayers, I trust.

  7. Surely "anonymous" is referring to the "commentary on the effort from various web sources" quoted in red on Todd's post.

    Unfortunately, I don't know how to direct the anonymous concern about charity to those sources.

  8. Let's apply the standards of Vatican II to the discussion of inflatable beach churches!

    Pope Paul VI, pursuing the reform, promoted the use of contemporary structures and furnishings, but urged they "be of high quality, are durable, and well suited to sacred uses."

    In his interpretation of the Council initiatives, Paul VI noted “The character and beauty of the place (church) and all its appointments should foster devotion and show the holiness of the mysteries celebrated there.” Paul VI said the choice of materials for church appointments must be marked by "concern for genuineness and by the intent to foster instruction of the faithful and the dignity of the place of worship.”

    In a gesture granting greater freedom to bishops, Paul VI allowed the conference of bishops to make the decisions on standards for places of worship in each country.

    So we can ask... Are the structures dignified? Do they meet the standards established by the bishops?

    Reasonable people may possibly come down on different sides of this.

    (All quotes from The Sacramentary, published 1985, Catholic Books.)


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