The Rev. Juan Benitez, of St. Louis Church in Pittsford, recently met with parishioner and private pilot Anthony Daniele to share ideas on ways to help during this stressful time.
While brainstorming, they joked about dropping holy water over the community while praying for hope and peace. They were in the air a few days later.
Daniele needed permission from Rochester Air Traffic Control to fly closer to the airport and around the community.
“Rochester Tower, I have clergy on board and request special permission to circle the towns and city of Rochester at 2,000 feet while dropping holy water and praying for you and our community,” Daniele said as he contacted the tower.
The Tower replied, “Permission granted with pleasure and Godspeed.”
Video of the hourlong flight is available at
“What started out as a random idea born out of a desperate desire to do something — anything — to bring some peace and calm to this situation turned into a fun and spiritual adventure,” Daniele said, “What really warmed our hearts was the responses we have received from the video. I think it made people feel like there is hope, and with faith and community support we will make it out of this OK.”