Father Scott Holmer sat on a chair in his church parking lot on Friday (March 20), administering confession car by car to worshippers, leaning forward sometimes as he struggled to hear them due to social distancing restrictions.
After the Catholic Church of St.
Edward the Confessor had to shut its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Holmer said he got the idea of offering drive-through confessions after learning about South Korea's drive-through testing for the illness.
"I grabbed some cones, the sign and the chair, put them out in the parking lot and just sat there," Holmer told Reuters.
Few cars stopped by the first few days, but things changed after a video of the drive-thru confessions went viral.
Drive-thrus, drive-ins and similar initiatives are popping up across the United States in an attempt to fill the void left by shuttered businesses, churches and services as U.S. officials ordered strict restrictions to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
More than 200 people have died in the United States and over 14,600 cases had been confirmed by Friday, the surge in cases reflecting an increase in testing.
Health experts believe the actual number of COVID-19 cases to be far higher.
Joel Dearring, who was one in a steady stream of people lined up to confess their sins from their cars, said his belief in God shielded him from worry over coronavirus.
"With the power of God, anything is capable of taking care of all of us.
And that's what he does.
So I'm not worried about any virus or anything like that, because we're all covered," he said.
Holmer said hearing confessions in the parking lot this week has been unexpectedly rewarding.
"It gives me a real purpose as a priest again, just knowing I'm really able to help people," he said.
"I really think the vaccine for fear is faith..knowing that even if all the world goes completely chaotic, you can still hold on to your relationship with God.