Parishes might be closed in accordance with Center for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines, but at one Catholic church in Bowie, Maryland, there is still a long line of parishioners — only they're lining up in the parking lot rather than the sanctuary.
At St. Edward the Confessor Church, Father Scott Holmer is responding to the coronavirus and the needs of his congregation by holding drive-thru confessional.
Holmer knew he needed to find a way to help his parishioners through these trying times, and they have responded en masse.
“There has just been a ton of cars coming through the drive-thru,” Holmer said.
Holmer sits in the parking lot with a blindfold on to maintain the traditional anonymity of confession but also goes face-to-face with many attendees. A seminarian welcomes parishioners and directs traffic.
“They don’t teach you traffic control in seminary, so I’m kind of learning on the fly,” seminarian Joe McHenry said.
Church members appreciate Father Holmer’s innovative drive-thru service.
“We all need prayer,” said Joel Dearring, a parishioner at the church. “This is a wonderful time and great outreach for the community.”
Holmer is just glad to see the faces he missed last Sunday.
“Imagine how good it will feel once this is all over and we can all get back together again,” Holmer said. “That’s the hope we’ve got to keep looking for in the midst of our exile from each other.”