St. John Paul II Catholic Church priest offers airborne Benediction


In an hour of divine mercy, Father Richard Pagano of St John Paul II
Catholic Church in Nocatee, accompanied by St Augustine Police Department Chief Robert Hardwick, flew over a portion of St Johns and Duval counties on Friday, March 27, offering Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament and prayer for all residents, workers, health professionals, first responders, and those who put themselves in harm’s way to serve our basic needs during these challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Father Pagano asked people to join him today in prayer and solidarity for the end to the coronavirus pandemic and for healing to all those who have been affected.

The service was conducted from a helicopter from the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine.

Father Pagano said this is a great opportunity for "Church and government to  unite in leadership to be able to pray, especially for the welfare of all of our people that we serve in our local area."

He referenced Pope Francis' reflection today during the Urbi et Orbi blessing, sharing, “when Jesus fell asleep in the boat and His disciples feared for their lives,” they were able to experience “the peace that comes from prayer, from being in the company of Jesus.”

Father Pagano wanted each of us to feel that same peace today as he blessed our neighborhoods. He asked us to “join in prayer and to really enter into the peaceful company of the Lord. When we are with Him, we are with the Author of Life, we're secured in peace... that peace is so important for everybody right now.”

Chief Hardwick expressed how blessed and privileged he felt for having the opportunity to participate in this experience with his long-time friend, Father Pagano.

"We are St Johns County strong and we will get through this...," Hardwick said.

"We are going to get through this together and we are going to get through this in
prayer,” Father Pagano said.