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A Catholic Bishop in the Colombian seaport town of Buenaventura is taking blessings by holy water to a new level, turning to helicopter to exorcise the city of its demons.
According to media reports Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya, plans to celebrate the city's patron saints festival which it holds every year by dropping holy water from a military helicopter.
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Priest Hopes to Rid the City of its Demons
In an interview with a Colombian radio station, which was covered by the media, the priest said he wanted to use enough holy water to rid the city of its demons, which come in the form of drug trafficking and gang fights. ‘We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air and pour holy water onto it to see if we exorcise all those demons that are destroying our port," the priest was quoted as saying. The priest said the city has already suffered through fifty murders since the start of 2019. He was ordained in 2017.
“In Buenaventura, we have to get rid of the devil to see if we can return to the tranquility that the city has lost with so many crimes, acts of corruption and so much evil and drug trafficking,” Montoya went on to say. “It will be a great public demonstration for the entire community, where we will pour holy water to see if so many bad things end and the devil goes out of here.”
Colombia is No Stranger to Drugs, Gang Violence
Colombia has been roiling for years from drug trafficking and gang violence. The port city of Buenaventura, the largest in Latin America, consistently lands on travel warnings from a variety of countries including Canada. In a warning updated on 28 June, the Canadian government urged travelers to exercise a "high degree of caution" when traveling in Colombia and to avoid all travel to Buenaventura due to the risk of kidnapping and violent crime posed by illegal armed groups and other criminal organizations.
"Where blood flowed, where blood was shed, we are now going to pour holy water as a sign of reparation at the place where those who died were struck down by violence," the bishop noted when discussing the holy water drop. In 2018 the Vatican implemented a training course for exorcism in response to increased demand for those types of services.