Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A church in France has come up with the novel idea of having a drive thru confessional that has more in common with a McDonald’s takeaway than a church.
The coronavirus-era confessional has been set up at the Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc church in the French city of Limoges in the south-western Haute-Vienne department and it allows people to go to confession without even having to get out of their car.
Priest David de Lestapis, who is from the parish of Saint Jean-Paul II, came up with the idea. He said: “Welcoming people and giving them God’s forgiveness is one of the seven sacraments. Here, we are outside and the safety distances are respected. We are therefore fulfilling our role.”
Every Saturday, sitting on a chair outside, under an awning if it rains, he now welcomes the faithful wishing to lighten their souls. Catholics can drive up and stop near the priest, and markers on the ground show them where they should stop their car.
Motorists unwind their windows, and confess their sins out the window to the priest sitting a short distance away.
Father Lestapis, 40, reportedly studied communication and has set up a five-metre sheet that can be seen from the road. It reads: “Confession Drive. Come as you are.”
He says he was inspired by his Catholic brothers in Poland and the USA who were hearing confession in car parks. He said: “We found it very amusing at the beginning of isolation to find that our brothers in Poland and in the United States had done this in their car parks.”
He added: “The faithful can confess their sins using the drive through confessional every Saturday from 10am to 12pm.”
The priest also set up a confessional box in the church nearby where motorists can drive alongside and wind down the windows in order to confess their sins to the priest sitting in the doorway.
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