July 11 (UPI) — A Catholic bishop in Colombia plans to perform an exorcism for an entire city this weekend by spraying holy water from a helicopter.
Monsignor Ruben Dario Jaramillo Montoya, bishop of the city of Buenaventura, will use a navy helicopter to spread the holy water while saying a prayer for the city on Sunday in hopes of exorcising it of demons he believes are responsible for violence, crime and corruption in the city.
“We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura from the air and pour holy water onto it … to see if we exorcise all those demons that are destroying our port,” he told a local radio station. “So that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.”
The city will also hold a feast for its patron saint on Sunday.
A Human Rights Watch report in 2014, named Buenaventura Colombia’s most dangerous place, stating that criminal groups are active in many of the city’s neighborhoods, dismembering people and dumping them in the sea among other crimes.
“In Buenaventura, we have to get rid of the devil to see if we can return to the tranquility that the city has lost with so many crimes, acts of corruption and so much evil and drug trafficking,” Montoya said.
Life in the city has improved some since 2014, as residents have worked with international human rights groups to improve housing conditions and create a “humanitarian zone” free of armed violence.
The murder rate also fell from 121 murders per 100,000 people in 2006 to about 14 in 2016.