Priest blesses neighborhoods from back of truck amid coronavirus pandemic

WATCH: Priest blesses neighborhoods from back of truck during coronavirus pandemic

PHILADELPHIA — When the faithful can’t come to him, a priest in Philadelphia goes to them.

Rev. Nicholas Martorano, the priest at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Church in South Philadelphia, climbed in the back of a pickup truck Tuesday to bless his flock after they have not been able to attend mass for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported.

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The church building has been closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped the word of God from being shared. Martorano holds a virtual mass every Sunday.

But one thing was missing. The parishioners were not able to receive the Eucharist.

“They’re lacking something that’s essential in their lives as Catholic Christians, and they’re yearning for that. So we wanted to give an opportunity to receive at least a blessing,” Martorano told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Martorano asked one of his parishioners for help. Brian Donnelly, a former altar boy at the church and a funeral home director, borrowed a truck from a neighbor to drive the priest around, the Inquirer reported.

The priest held a monstrance, where the Communion host is carried, as he stood in the bed of the pickup for two hours.

Frank Quinn, a 40-year member of St. Nicks, drove in front of the reverend’s version of the popemobile, playing religious music to call his fellow worshipers into the street, CNN reported.

Martorano said his church members were thankful for his visit and blessing. A 97-year-old woman and her family asked Martorano to stop so she could receive a blessing, the Inquirer reported.

“Some were crying, some kneeling and receiving the blessing. All of them were grateful and saying, ‘Thank you for this. We needed this,’" Martorano told CNN.

Quinn said the mobile blessing gave the community the hope they needed, CNN reported.

FILE PHOTO: When the faithful couldn't go to their church, their priest went to them.
FILE PHOTO: When the faithful couldn't go to their church, their priest went to them. (David Goldman/AP)