Fly-By Faith: The Archdiocese of Washington’s New Drone-Cam

Procession of the St. John Paul II Relic proceeds toward the Pope John Paul II Center in Washington DC

Moving ever forward in its embrace of the new technology, the Archdiocese of Washington has bought its very own drone.

Priced at under $1,000, the saucer-shaped, camera-laden drone will enable the Archdiocese to film events from a new perspective.  It was used on Mother’s Day to capture the Archdiocese’s procession marking the canonization of the two popes, John Paul II and John XXIII.

The Knights of Columbus pass the sign to the newly-titled “Saint John Paul II Cultural Center”

The Archdiocese of Washington has led the nation’s dioceses in its embrace of social media.  From YouTube videos to Instagram photos, from Twitter to the popular Monsignor Pope’s blog, the ADW has clearly embraced the new technology in advancing the New Evangelization.

There was one problem which Archdiocesan staff hadn’t anticipated:  According to the Washington Post, the drone’s flight was in violation of FAA regulations which prohibit any unmanned vehicle from flying in the no-fly zone which includes a 15-mile radius around Reagan International Airport.

Cardinal Wuerl carries the reliquary displaying the Relic of Saint John Paul II

The Archdiocese’s videographers, who were stationed atop the John Paul II Center, were careful to film only on private land, and not on the public streets of Washington DC.  However, now that they’ve realized that they violated the no-fly zone, Archdiocesan spokesperson Chieko Noguchi assured the Washington Post that they would check to make sure they were in compliance before using the drone again.

Here, a wonderful YouTube video which combines scenes from the procession with the relic of St. John Paul II, with images from Mass of Thanksgiving in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the St. John Paul II Relic procession around the corner to the JPII Shrine.



  • Manny

    I find this rather odd. Who flies the drone? And what happens if there is a mechanical failure and the plane falls out of the sky and hurts someone? Is it really worth having one? Do lots of institutions have their own drones these days?