PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It is perhaps one of the strangest sights in these strangest of times: a Catholic priest sitting under a parking lot tent hearing the drive-by confessions of his parishioners. It’s a unique way to satisfy spiritual needs in this pandemic.
“I wanted to look for a way which we could satisfy people’s hunger for God’s mercy. Just as we’re looking for ways for food banks provide for people who are physically hungry,” said Bishop David Zubik.
Church buildings and services have been off limits for six weeks, but now Bishop Zubik is allowing some face-to-face contact provided there are face masks and social distancing.
Weddings and funeral services will be allowed but limited to ten people each. Not quote optimal for times of celebration or mourning, but better than no services at all, according to funeral director Jim Stover.
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“Well, because people need to grieve and you need to go through the grieving process to get on the other side of it, and part of that process is sharing with others,” Stover said.
Father Nick Vaskov says his confessional tent is one place his parishioners can now come for spiritual healing and a little bit of human interaction.
“We were never meant to be apart. There’s that human longing to be together with people we love and the friendship and family atmosphere coming together in church is just like that. It’s a community of faith,” Vaskov said.
Those who queued up in the cars said they were grateful for the absolution and to Father Vaskov for providing it.
“It was my first drive-thru but I really enjoyed it. I know Father Nick he’s a real father to his people. Just his willingness to sit in the rain and do whatever it takes to be available to people. It was really beautiful,” said Shannon Keating of Larimer.