An Irish priest plans to use drones to broadcast outdoor masses from cemeteries later in July.
Fr. Patsy Lynch, from the Diocese of Kerry, has announced the plans in response to advice from the diocese urging people not to congregate in cemeteries due to the threat of the Delta variant.
Fr. Lynch will pilot the drones himself, allowing him to broadcast online mass from cemeteries in Portmagee, the Glen, and Ballinskelligs.
He said that he would use the drone to broadcast images of the graves of people who have died within the last year.
"For those who have died in the last 12 months, I'll be able to go around with the camera and take a close-up of the grave so that the family will be able to see their loved one's grave during the mass," Lynch told Kerry's Eye. "I'll also put lighted candles on the graves of those who were buried in the last year."
The Kerry Diocese had previously hoped to hold outdoor masses in cemeteries around the county, but the recent spike in Delta variant cases has put paid to those plans.
However, Fr. Lynch, of the south Kerry parish of Prior, has turned to modern technology and hopes to give his parishioners a unique aerial experience.
He encouraged other members of the clergy to follow suit and embrace technology to combat the surge in Delta variant cases.
The Kerry priest said that he would begin broadcasting outdoor masses from the three cemeteries from mid-July depending on weather conditions.
Under Ireland's current COVID-19 regulations, indoor religious services can hold up to 50 worshippers, while up to 200 people can attend organized outdoor events.
However, the Diocese of Kerry has grown worried over reports of a spike in Delta variant cases, advising people not to attend outdoor events even if they are permitted under Ireland's public health regulations.