“It’s Mass in Heaven!” This was how everybody who attended this Mass right in the middle of desert farmland said. Photographer Peter George was there to capture a number of photos which he posted on Facebook, using that same title. The unanimous response he got was a thrilled “yes, it feels so!”
The photos were widely shared on social media to consistently delighted comments.
Mr George told Watani the story behind those photos. “I had the chance to attend the End-of-Lent Friday Mass officiated by Fr Yacoub al-Meqataa, who serves in the region around the Cairo-Alexandria desert highway,” George said.
“This region had for centuries been desert land. However, large swaths of it have during the last decades been reclaimed as farmland, meaning that there are hundreds of agricultural labourers working and residing there. Many of them are Copts, yet there is no church to serve them there.” Enter Fr Yacoub whose service focuses on this far-reaching area; he set up a temporary altar in a spot in the midst of the farms, and invited the labourers to attend Mass. They were elated.
The setting and atmosphere were unconventional: no church building, no sanctuary, no altar, no nave, no icons, no candles. But the modesty of the natural setting was spiritually uplifting. Mr George captured the beauty of it all.
Another Mass was held on Palm Sunday, and others will probably follow.
Comments by bloggers read: “Oh, what beauty!”; “What a lovely service and great blessing”.
“These photos really thrilled me! They carried me up to Heaven.”
28 April 2021