Popular Twitter priest Father Ronald Vierling shared a video about the interesting way one Catholic community in Italy celebrates Easter.

Following an old Florentine tradition, the faithful annually congregate in the cathedral. While the bells ring at 11:00 a.m., they light a dove-shaped rocket and it flies through the central nave.

Here’s what happens next:

Fireworks inside a church? The incredible celebration of a Catholic community

Click here if you cannot see the post above.

Here’s Father Vierling’s explanation in the Twitter thread:

“A Florentine Easter tradition: ‘This year on 9th April 2023, at 11 o’clock, while the Cathedral’s bells are ringing furiously, a small rocket shaped as a dove or ‘colombina’ is lit on the main altar. It then goes flying along the wire, stretching to the cart and sets fire to it, in a big explosion of fireworks. If the dove has a smooth journey, the new harvest will be good and plentiful. Expect noise, colored smoke, and plenty of excitement in the crowd,’ the priest writes, quoting the ‘Visit Florence‘ website.

“The Cart, properly rigged with a suitable arsenal of fireworks, then awaits in front of the cathedral. From the cathedral’s altar, at around 11 am, when the ‘Gloria’ is sung inside the church, the Archbishop uses the fire to light a dove–shaped rocket (called the “Colombina” and symbolizing the Holy Spirit) and this in turns flies out down a wire to the outside of the church and collides with the Cart in the square, setting off a spectacular firework display to the cheers of all, the Explosion of the Cart ensues!

“If the complex ritual proceeds smoothly and all of the fireworks go off, good luck is ensured for a good harvest for this year as well as for the city and its citizens – so we hope for a wonderful explosion of the cart every Easter!”

Here’s another video of the event:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

History behind the tradition

In another tweet, Father Vierling again references “Visit Florence” regarding the historical origins behind this interesting form of popular piety:

“This tradition finds its origins in events that are partly historic and partly legendary. A young Florentine named Pazzino, a member of the noble Pazzi family, apparently took part in the First Crusade in the Holy Land in 1099, where he gave ample proof of his courage (he was the first to scale the walls of Jerusalem and raise the Christian banner).

“When he came home, he brought back three flints from the Holy Sepulchre that he received for his act of courage. This reliquary, today preserved in the Church of SS. Apostoli, lies behind the Florentine celebration for the Resurrection of Christ.”

Concluding his thread, Father Vierling called out some Catholics for “knee-jerking” the tradition. He explained that “these traditions witness to the vitality of the Catholic faith life,” which is “something to celebrate.

“Sad to see folks in ‘traditionalist’ (and I hate that term) Catholic circles offering a knee-jerk condemnation of this tradition without so much as making an effort to learn the ‘why’ and ‘what’ that is taking place,” he said.

“Liturgical traditions abound that weds our Catholic faith with Catholic living according to local custom. These traditions witness to the vitality of Catholic life and the universality of our faith. Something to celebrate!”

What do you think of this Italian Easter tradition?

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[See also: Catholic Priest Unveils 8 “Common-Sense Proofs” the Resurrection Really Happened]

[See also: How to Obtain the Unique Plenary Indulgence Jesus Offers on Divine Mercy Sunday]

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