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'Church without a church' | Bowie priest offers drive-thru confessionals during coronavirus outbreak

This priest is offering forgiveness...to go.
Credit: WUSA9

BOWIE, Md. — When public masses in the Archdiocese of Washington were suspended in efforts to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, a Bowie priest got creative when it came to bringing the sacraments to his community.

Father Scott Holmer, pastor at St. Edward the Confessor Parish in Bowie, Maryland, is running a drive-thru confessional to help parishioners repent...hygienically.

"Instead of doing mass since all public masses are canceled, I figure I'd be out here for confessions if people needed to talk or whatever it might be, people can stay in their cars and still talk and confess their sins," Holmer said.

The on-the-go confessional is in a setting that’s free of surfaces such as kneelers, chairs, and doorknobs that could spread the virus, he said.

Penitents only have to leave their car when there is more than one person in the car and they can line up behind the car and move into the driver seat when it is their turn for Confession.

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Whether anonymously or face-to-face, Holmer is encouraging others to remain hopeful during the pandemic. 

"That's why I'm doing this. People haven't had a chance to talk to anybody or have social interaction. It'll give folks a chance to swing by if they want to swing by," Holmer said. "We've never had this before, so we are just making this [concept] up as we go."

RELATED: Coronavirus concerns prompt area churches to close doors

Need to confess or are looking to still be connected during the spread of the coronavirus? Holmer will be hearing confessions in the parking lot of St. Edward the Confessor Church in Bowie on the following dates and times:

  • Monday: 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday: 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
  • Wednesday: 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday: 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

There will be no confessions in the event of rain.

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