Essen Catholic diocese buys inflatable church

Essen Catholic diocese buys inflatable church
A file photo of an English priest blowing up an inflatable church. Photo: DPA
An Essen Catholic youth organization plans to breathe new life into deflated congregation numbers with the country’s first inflatable Catholic cathedral, daily Neuen Ruhr/Neuen Rhein Zeitung reported over the weekend.

“Our church is being made and should be erected this advent at Christmas markets, for example,” head of the diocese’s youth group, Peter Huyeng, told the paper.

“We want to take the church where there aren’t any churches,” said Huyeng, explaining that pedestrian zones and school yards would be possible locations for the blow-up house of worship. “We have to come to the people and not wait for them to come to us.”

Protestant churches in Württemberg and Thüringen made headlines in 2003 when they purchased models of the inflatable cathedral, manufactured by UK-based Innovations Xtreme Inflatables. But this is the country’s first Catholic blow-up church.

The €30,000 structure has seating for 60 and will be offered as a place of reflection and promote the church in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the paper reported.

So far the church does not plan to hold communion services, but will hold liturgy and other spiritual offerings.