On Sunday, March 22, Mass was said at St. Joseph’s Church in Ray Township in an unprecedented way.
An altar was set up in the vestibule of the church with the large doors opened onto the parking lot. As the faithful drove up the long drive, the ushers distributed written instructions for the morning’s Mass: The faithful were to remain in their cars and pray the Mass from there.
Confessions were heard inside the church during both Masses, since there were two priests available that day. A few elderly or disabled parishioners also prayed inside the church, being careful to keep all safety regulations regarding occupancy and social distancing.
Although the silence was striking at the holy Sacrifice, during the second Mass of the day a microphone was set up at the altar which broadcast an FM signal to the faithful in their cars. Although there was no sermon, the mystery of this precious liturgy spoke more clearly than words.
When time came for Holy Communion, the ushers called the occupants of the cars one by one to enter the church where the faithful received Our Lord at the communion rail and then proceeded out of the church and back to their vehicles. As a last innovative step, the ushers received the normal Sunday offerings from the faithful as they drove out — thankful to be some of the very few in Michigan able to receive such graces in these trying times.