I often look at some of the worship practices that our Protestant brothers and sisters use and wonder how the Catholic Church might be able to weave them into our practices in a useful way.
On face value, the idea of drive-thru prayer venues might seem a tad crazy. But when you look more closely, it makes a bit more sense. In a world that’s getting busier and busier — or at least seems to be — shouldn’t we be thinking about how we can make it easier for people to partake in the Christian life? The Huffington Post reports:
The Sonrise Worship Center in Lutz, Florida, offers on-the-go coffee and comfort to worshippers in a hurry, reports Patch. Their forthright signs feature simple slogans like, “Need God’s Guidance?” “Drive-Thru Prayer: Turn Here,” and “Free Prayer Ahead.”
For such a simple concept, the response has been very moving. Rather than stopping for a cheeseburger, these motorists pause for genuine spiritual comfort when life takes a wrong turn. The church’s Facebook page states, “Prayer on the go or not is #powerful.”
Pastor Tyson Prater relates, “A lady was on her way to the hospital, as her husband had just had a heart attack, and she was literally following the ambulance to the hospital, saw our sign, pulled in and asked us to pray for her and her husband.”
Drivers can warm their bodies as well as their souls by making a pit-stop, as the church hands out free cups of coffee along with their spiritual support.
When recording this month’s episode of The 15th Station podcast, we discussed this story and we wondered aloud whether this could even be extended to Confession — the Catholic version, and done in a valid way. Could priests spend time hearing Confession as people filter through a line of cars? If not, why not? If you can ensure that the Confession can still be heard in private, which shouldn’t be that hard, I don’t see why it couldn’t be done.
It really comes down to a question of access to Confession. Some people complain that parishes in countries like New Zealand and Australia don’t have enough opportunities for Confession. Maybe a drive-thru option with priests from a group of parishes that rotate the responsibility provides the flexibility people are looking for. And with so much work able to be done remotely, a priest could be working in the lulls between penitents.
It’s thinking way outside the (confession) box, but that doesn’t mean we should just dismiss something like this as a Protestant fad. If there was demand, it should be seriously considered. Of course, finding a defunct fast food restaurant might be difficult.