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.
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.
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.
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. Source
One of the things I love about this story is the direct connection between repentance and mercy. Often when mercy gets bandied about there is hardly a connection to sin. That mercy is a free-ride requiring no repentance.
Archbishop Chaput recently wrote for First Things a mentioned in the National Catholic Register.
“Ironically, a pastoral strategy that minimizes sin in the name of mercy cannot be merciful, because it is dishonest,”
I only hope I hear more regarding the Archbishop’s correct view of mercy than the false view of mercy often pedaled during this upcoming Year of Mercy. As Pope Francis wrote in Misericordiae Vultus
Mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe.
Now as to mobile confessionals this certainly not a new idea. I’ve seen pictures of one in Germany and another from France. No doubt there are many others.
Sadly the following image is not real as it was done by a hoaxster.