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Cool idea, or going a bit far? Diocese of Lafayette rolls out mobile confessional December 1, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, priests, Sacraments, Society, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

Reader D sent this to me.  The Diocese of Lafayette, under the leadership of Bishop Charles Jarrell, who has taken one of the strongest stands against the enormous evil of Supreme Court imposition of pseudo-sodo-marriage of any US prelate, has rolled out a converted ambulance as a mobile confessional (annoying auto video play at link).  I’m all for making the great and underused Sacrament of Confession much more available.  I think this idea has some merit in theory, but I have to wonder if this will not come off as a bit gimmicky?  What do you think?

The Lafayette Diocese has created a new and easier way for outreach with the Catholic Church.

They’ve converted an old ambulance into a mobile confessional called a spiritual care unit. With a  picture of Jesus and Bible verses on the side, the new unit is for spiritual emergencies, specifically remodeled for prayer and confessions.

“It’s a way that we can give some pride and public expression of our Catholic faith that is not just meant for the walls of the church, but on the streets,” Father Michael Champagne, a priest at Lafayette Diocese, said. [OK.  I can see that. There may be some merit.  BTW, Fr. Champagne wears a cassock.]

The unit is  part of Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy that begins on December 8. Thanks to an anonymous donation, it took two weeks to complete the unit that Champagne calls a church on wheels. 

“We need to go to where people are. People come to the church as a center of worship and pray, but we also have to do outreach,” Champagne said.  [I’m warming to the concept.]

Not only is the vehicle a way to bring more people to the Catholic church, but it makes going to confession easier for people with busy schedules.

“Pope Francis is asking us to go out of to the peripheries of the church and now we have the means to do that,” Bishop Michael Jarrell said. [Almost a bit cheeky, but this is a response to the Year of Mercy I could get behind, so long as the Sacrament is not cheapened in any way.  Making Confession more available is to me such a huge necessity.  I think it should normally be accomplished by vastly increasing the hours priests are available for Confession (like, 2 or so every day, minimum!) and by priests and bishops stressing the great importance of this Sacrament in sermons and other efforts throughout the year.  But a mobile confessional is far from the worse expression of mercy we’ll see in the coming year, I imagine]

Inside the unit there are Bibles, rosaries and even holy water. It’s fully equipped to spiritually care for others.

“There’s no sin in the world that’s too big for God’s mercy,” Champagne said. “We want to extend and preach the gospel of mercy to our people.”

The spiritual care unit will make stops around Acadiana beginning on December 8, for the beginning for the holy year of mercy. 

And as a relatively large diocese with a widely dispersed rural population, and surely a paucity of priests as everywhere, this is not a bad way to get folks into the confessional.  Overall, I think this is a good idea, and a way of implementing the upcoming Year of Mercy that stresses the traditional, sacramental practice of the Faith while also going out to those peripheries.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of those roll in the Diocese of Dallas!  Just about anything that gets souls into the confessional, that great locus of conversion and true application of mercy (and not the false mercy of the world and the worldlings in collar), is something I can get behind.

Good job Bishop Jarrell. Pretty neat idea.  I’m interested to see if it really gets used a lot and does get more souls into the confessional.



1. skeinster - December 1, 2015

I like this, if, as you say, there is no cheapening of the sacrament. But if they went to the trouble to set this up, I imagine they’re pretty serious.

“Fully equipped” reminds me of the local priests’s supply organizers in the confessionals.
Do you need a Miraculous medal? a St. Benedict medal? a scapular?
a tiny vial of blessed oil? a certain prayer?
They have it. We’re very blessed in our priests.

2. Baseballmom - December 1, 2015

Lived in that Diocese many moons ago…. It was dreadful then (in the 80’s) – good to see this happening there!

Mrs. Maureen Avila - December 1, 2015

I was visiting in that Diocese last Easter…the priest delivering the homily was enthusiastic about the great things that the Pope would have in store for us at the Synod.

Baseballmom - December 1, 2015

Ugh…. St. Pius X by any chance? That was our parish…

3. TE - December 1, 2015

It does seem like a good idea, TB. But I can’t help but think of inflatablechurch.com!

4. Mrs. Maureen Avila - December 1, 2015

The mobile confessional is a good idea so long as the priest is is not heterodox in any way re sin or the sacrament of penance; otherwise this is just a faster way to promote error and to confirm people in their sins.

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