In Boston, drive-thru confessions heard during coronavirus crisis

In Boston, drive-thru confessions heard during coronavirus crisis

In this Monday, April 6, 2020 photo, Father Brian Mahoney waits for the next churchgoers confession, held in the parking lot due to the virus outbreak, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Chelmsford, Mass. After Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of over 10 people due to the coronavirus, the parish moved their confessional outdoors with drive-up service. (Credit: Charles Krupa/AP.)

A Catholic priest in a parish north of Boston is taking drive-thru Holy Week confessions as the faithful combine social distancing and spirituality amid the coronavirus pandemic.

BOSTON — A Catholic priest in a parish north of Boston is taking drive-thru Holy Week confessions as the faithful combine social distancing and spirituality amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Father Brian Mahoney and fellow priests heard confessions this week while seated in the parking lot of the Chelmsford Catholic Collaborative, home to the St. Mary and St. John the Evangelist parishes.

Cars pull up next to an orange safety cone in front of the priests, who keep a distance of 6 feet from those wishing to confess in keeping with social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In our times of greatest difficulty, we need God,” Mahoney said Monday.

Meanwhile, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city is ready to help local hospitals with morgue capacity as deaths from COVID-19 mount.

Walsh said Tuesday he has spoken with major hospitals to let them know the city can help them expand capacity in part expediting any permitting needed. He said any operations associated with expanded morgue capacity will not be visible to the public.

Walsh said the Boston convention center, which is being transformed into a field hospital, will begin accepting patients on Thursday. He said the first patients will likely be homeless individuals with COVID-19.

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