After Rev. Albert San Jose had sung a song while riding and twirling a hoverboard personal transporter throughout pew aisles during Christmas Eve Mass, Philippine Roman Catholic Church officials reprimanded him, reports Associated Press. The Diocese of San Pablo, south of Manila, said the priest apologized for his action, which was videoed by congregants and widely shared on YouTube.
In the nearly 3-minute video, the priest enters the church in a white cassock, then glides up and down the church's aisles on the two-wheeled electric scooter while singing a Christmas song. Some congregants applaud as he pivots and moves backward.
To date, the video has been viewed more than 69,000 times since it was posted Saturday.
Congregant Shiela May B. Cartaño posted on Facebook Wednesday: "Yes, he is our Parish Priest. Yes, I was there during his mass. I don't think there's anything wrong with what he did. In fact he cited the homily very clearly and solemnly. He did not violate any church rules. Why judge him immediately? It's Christmas Eve for toooot... sake! Time for celebrating the birth of Jesus. We should all be happy. We should celebrate. He sang a song with his hoverboard, that's it. After that he ended the mass. What was wrong with that? Hay, I can't believe he was judged immediately especially with his colleague tsk... tsk..."
San Jose rode the hoverboard just before the final blessing in the Mass at the church in Binan City in Laguna province, states AP.
"That was wrong," the diocese said in a statement late Tuesday, emphasizing that celebrating the Mass is the church's "highest form" of worship and "demands utmost respect and reverence."
"It is not a personal celebration where one can capriciously introduce something to get the attention of the people," diocese officials said, according to an article published in Daily Deal Omaha.
Priests often are urged by church officials to live quietly and humbly as they minister to the poor in the Asian bastion of Catholicism, especially under the leadership of Pope Francis, who is known for his frugal lifestyle.
One YouTube subscriber posted that the priest "drives better than Mike Tyson, and has a better voice than him."
Another, Debbie Wiles, said: "A priest on a segway -- that's AWESOME!"
On the same YouTube comment thread, Ed Graveline said San Jose was "suspended by his diocese and has to go on a month long punishment for this."
Felipe Ferreira said on YouTube he did not understand why people are so angry just because of this. "He's doing his role in the church, just like another priest. It's ridiculous how people are judging him just because he's using tech."
This diocese is composed of San Pablo City and the entire province of Laguna, of which it is the only diocese. It is bordered by the Archdiocese of Lipa in Batangas, Diocese of Antipolo in Rizal and the Prelature of Infanta and the Diocese of Lucena in Quezon, according to online sources.