Church hits the brakes on drive-thru confessions

Tribune-Star file/Austen LeakeThe Rev. Dan Bedel, who serves  St. Patrick and St. Margaret Mary Catholic churches in Terre Haute, was hearing confessions from the cab of his Toyota Tacoma, but the Archdiocese of Indianapolis  

The brakes have been applied to "drive-thru" confessions in Terre Haute.

Last week, the Rev. Dan Bedel thought some creative thinking was needed to help maintain people keep the faith during the COVID-19 pandemic -- especially when Catholic churches across Indiana are closed to Masses, meetings and gatherings.

He established drive-thru  confessions using his pickup truck parked in church lots. Bedel, who serves both St. Patrick and St. Margaret Mary Catholic churches in Terre Haute, said he was able to hear about 15 confessions in two days in which he conducted the parking lot confessions.

Those wishing confession could roll up to Bedel's pickup truck, crack their own vehicle window and engage in the sacrament. 

However, the "archdiocese (of Indianapolis) has deemed it to be too high a risk for contamination," Bedel told parishioners in a notice Tuesday.

"I am confident that we can help to slow the contamination of the population by staying home where possible," he stated.

Bedel said Wednesday if someone has a "serious need to go to confession to a priest, they can schedule an appointment" through email. Serious need, he said, is if an individual is in grave danger of death.

"But we are encouraging folk to follow the governor's recommendation to stay at home and wait until this crisis is over. Once it has passed, scheduled times for confessions will be made available again," he said.

"Obviously, prayer can take place anywhere at anytime. Therefore, more than anything else, we can certainly pray," Bedel said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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