PORTLAND---“The Light is On for You” initiative, scheduled for March 30-April 3, is cancelled for Lent 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The initiative, held during Advent and Lent, invites all Maine Catholics to experience God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. During “The Light is On for You,” each parish offers confessions on multiple evenings, an impossible prospect at this time in light of the ongoing crisis.
Lent is a time of penance and self-sacrifice in preparation for commemorating the passion and death of Christ on Good Friday and celebrating His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Each year, the season of Lent provides an opportunity for Christians to deepen their baptismal faith in the Lord Jesus and renew that faith at Easter. Confronting sinfulness and seeking reconciliation is an important part of that conversion of faith.
Many of the faithful may be asking themselves, “How can my sins be forgiven?” It is the consistent teaching and practice of the Church (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph no. 1452), that when it is impossible to receive sacramental absolution, a penitent should offer a perfect act of contrition (that is, for the love of God above all else). “Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (cf. Council of Trent, 1551).
Several parishes are still offering the opportunity for confessions outdoors through drive-thru confessions:
Fr. Kyle Doustou will offer confession in a drive-thru format at Holy Family Church parking lot on Brunswick Street in Old Town on Saturday, March 28, at 3 p.m., Monday, March 30, at 6 p.m., Friday, April 3, at 6 p.m., and Saturday, April 4, at 3 p.m.; at the Newman Center parking lot on College Avenue in Orono on Tuesday, March 31, at 6 p.m.; at St. Ann Church on Down Street in Indian Island on Wednesday, April 1, at 6 p.m.; and at St. Ann Church on Main Street in Bradley on Thursday, April 2, at 6 p.m.
Fr. Phil Tracy will offer the sacrament of reconciliation in a drive-thru format at Holy Martyrs Church on 266 Foreside Road in Falmouth on Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. People can drive up with Fr. Tracy hearing confessions at a safe distance near the automobiles.
Fr. Paul Marquis will offer the sacrament of reconciliation in a drive-thru format in the parking lot of Sacred Heart Church on 326 Main Street in Yarmouth on Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Fr. Seamus Griesbach will offer the sacrament of reconciliation in a similar drive-thru format. Fr. Griesbach will hear confessions from the window of the rectory, located next to the Our Lady of the Rosary Parish sign on 131 High Street in Sabattus, on Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Confessors need only drive up the driveway, keep their window down, and enjoy informational signs while they wait.
Fr. Aaron Damboise will offer the sacrament of reconciliation in a drive-thru format at Holy Family Church on 145 Pritham Avenue in Greenville on Saturdays at 3 p.m. and at St. Anthony of Padua Parish on 370 Main Street in Jackman on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
As they are scheduled, additional confession opportunities will be added to the Diocese of Portland’s COVID-19 response page at www.portlanddiocese.org/content/response-coronavirus.