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Catholic Father Meets With Parishioners From Inside Jeep During Pandemic

DRAPER, Utah — People come to St. John the Baptist Church in Draper to connect, worship and feel peace.

“We love community and we love to be with each other,” said Father Stephen Tilley.

The sacrament of confession or reconciliation is usually held inside a private area of the chapel.

“The sacrament never changes,” Tilley said.

On Sunday, Tilley could not be found in the chapel. 

“I think that’s probably the hardest part is we canceled mass, so suddenly that I haven’t had a chance to see (the congregation),” he said.

But on Sunday evening, he finally got to see them – drive-thru style.

“There’s a lot of things I didn’t imagine (ever happening) and that’s OK,” he said.

In 2002, Jeep Wrangler, he parked in front of the church then welcomed all to come to confession.

“God’s mercy and love stabilizes us and especially this week with the COVID and with the earthquake,” he said. “It made people aware of how much they need God how much they need community and how much they need reconciliation.”

In times of uncertainty, people long to be steered in the right direction and the long line of cars down the driveway illustrated that.

“Whether this happens in a Jeep, car or someone walks up to the jeep, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’ve heard reconciliations even on planes.”

On this Sabbath day, guidance came in the form of a priest welcoming his congregation from the driver’s seat.

The church is actively updating their Facebook page to stay in contact with parishioners.

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