That wasn't rain falling in rural Louisiana on Saturday—it was holy water, sprayed by a crop-duster plane. "We can bless more area in a shorter amount of time," says Rev. Matthew Barzare of St. Anne Church in Cow Island, La. He apparently blessed 100 gallons of water after mass, saying it broke a personal record: "I've blessed some buckets for people and such, but never that much water," he tells NPR. The pilot then flew off with instructions to shower certain areas, including grocery stores, schools, and churches. Word spread of the drizzling holy water, and people "heard the plane coming ... so they had enough time to step out of their house and see it spraying," says Barzare.
Why the airborne blessing? No reports say, but apparently it's been done in Brazil with helicopters, and Fox Business notes that holy water is "considered a sacramental" by Roman Catholics (though it doesn't "confer the grace of the Holy Spirit" like baptism or communion). Barzare dismissed the notion that some might be offended, saying the roughly 200 families in the parish of St. Anne—a town that's about 90% Catholic—are highly supportive. He also said there was no pesticide residue in the plane's tanks at this time of year. His future plans include annual sprayings of 300 gallons each. For the record: Cow Island is not an island. Barzare says there's often water around the area after hurricanes, which explains the name. (Read more Catholic Church stories.)