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Creative confessionals keep the light on for penitents

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Confessions were held almost anywhere but inside confessionals March 18. In order to maintain social distancing as a prevention against the spread of the coronavirus, priests around the diocese found ways to absolve sins from afar. 

Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville had drive-thru confession in their parking lot. St. Philip Church in Falls Church released a video on Facebook explaining how the confession line would snake through the church to two rooms outfitted with distantly spaced chairs and a lit candle. Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester set up tents and umbrellas outside so penitents could confess in the light drizzle. Priests at St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax waited in folding chairs next to blooming flowerbeds to offer God’s forgiveness. 

Father Joseph T. Brennan, pastor of St. John Neumann Church in Reston, and Father Donald J. Heet, parochial vicar, were stationed on opposite sides of the church during “The Light is ON for You” initiave, one of the few parish events that was not suspended. 

Grand Knight Kevin Kramp waited outside the sanctuary. The Knights of Columbus had been enlisted for traffic control and to keep people a safe distance apart as they stood in line. But there were no crowds and no lines, perhaps because parishioners didn’t realize that confession was still on when everything else was suspended. So Kramp called his family. “I told them there was germ-free, no-wait confession. All five of us are now sin-free,” he said. “That should last until breakfast tomorrow.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020