In Palermo, Mass and Happy Hour Go Hand in Hand

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 03:00

Is happy hour the way to heaven?

A priest in Palermo must think so: Don Fabrizio Fiorentino has come up with an original initiative, “aperimessa” (from the union of the words “aperitivo”, happy hour, and “messa”, mass): the religious ceremony is followed, in the same place where Mass is celebrated, by an aperitif and dance to the rhythm of samba and bossa nova.

The idea has been very successful: week after week, the faithful have multiplied and now, thousands flock to the Sunday service, celebrated on a meadow along the coast, next to the little church Don Fabrizio presides in the marine village of Addaura, in the outskirts of Palermo.

The initiative has inevitably sparked some controversies, however Don Fabrizio is quick to defend it this way: “Pope Francis said that the community should be creative, open and joyful, and these are the elements you need if you really want to revitalize neighborhoods in the outskirts of towns. It's not that we serve champagne and appetizers during the function. The religious ritual is observed in a more than dignified way. At the end of the function, those who wish to stay can make their contribution and stay for a drink and to listen to some music.” The proceeds from the happy hour will be used to maintain the little church by the sea, and, if there is money left, it will also serve to help the religious missions in central Africa.