Religious gatherings, like some many others, have been forced to take a break under lockdown but that hasn’t meant the end of all the sacraments.
In Limoges, in southwestern France, clergy have been inspired by the worlds of fast-food and cinema, and adopted the concept of the drive-in confession.
The faithful sit in their vehicles and relate their sins to the waiting priest.
“We were very amused to see that at the beginning of the containment, our brothers from Poland and the United States of America had done this in their car parks,” explained Father David de Lestapis, from St. Jean-Paul II church.
“We thought about it for three weeks, and since the Feast of Mercy follows the Easter weekend, where we meditate a lot on God`’s love and forgiveness, we did the same in our car park.”
The drive-ins take place for two hours every Saturday, and the idea seems to be going down well with the parishioners.
“It’s not at all shocking,” said one woman. “On the contrary, there’s a lot of freedom. It’s maybe even easier to talk with the two metres between us.”
“It feels good to get things off your chest while at the same time respecting the rules of social distancing,” added a teenage boy.
“The church knows how to adapt itself in order to enable believers to have access to the sacrament,” another man explained.
The organisers hope the drive-ins will at least tide worshippers over until the more traditional in-church services can be resumed, although the French government has made it clear that won’t happen until at least June 2.