Not Stupid | Automatic holy water dispenser makes perfect sense

Religion — specifically the Bible’s Story of Creation — has been a prominent subject in the news lately. The topic and all its alleged permutations went viral much like a disease. We do not want to catch the sickness, so instead we looked for an uplifting story related to the religion that more than 80 percent of Filipinos supposedly belong to.

The brouhaha, in fact, prompted us to look for a technological innovation with religious leanings. We think that the automatic holy water dispenser is a fascinating innovation. It’s proof that religion and science can mix.

It may be recalled that Pinoys went crazy over an automatic holy water dispenser when Twitter user Helgi Bjarnason (@BrianHelgi) posted a photo of one at the Our Lady of Remedies Church, a military chapel at the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga (thanks to our reader Imee Angela Dulay for pointing this out. We earlier said the church is in Malabacat, which is near Clark). InterAksyon’s Jeline Malasig did a feature on it.

The photo — which was shared via Twitter on May 27, 2018 — has gotten over 3,900 retweets and over 28,000 likes as of 6 p.m. on June 30, 2018.

Traditional holy water fonts usually had multitudes of churchgoers dip into the holy water. One Catholic told us: “When you would go in for the first mass, the holy water would be clear. By the time the mass is about to start, the water would be murky already.” In other words, as holy as the water might be, it turned into a breeding ground for germs after everyone was done dipping their fingers into it.

In 2009, Italian inventor Luciano Marabese came up with a prototype of the holy gadget as a response to the swine flu scare. By 2010, fireman John Hartel — a devout Catholic living in Queens, New York — also patented his own automatic holy water dispenser. Hartel later branded his creation as the Ordinary Time Holy Water Font. The description of the product on its official Facebook page reads:

The Automatic Holy Water dispenser is another simple change the Church should make in regards for their Parishioners health and safety.

The design of the dispenser is similar to that of a soap dispenser which has an infrared light that reads the presence of a hand and dispenses a predetermined amount of Holy water onto the persons fingers.

That said, maybe those who have offended the Catholic Church can say sorry buy buying and donating automatic holy water dispensers to churches all over the country. Actually, we’re surprised why Pinoy inventors haven’t come up with their own version of this gadget. We hope they come up with one that plays choir music each time it dispenses a drop of holy water.

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