Yes, this one got me a little excited.
In the past I have posted about a very cool priest, Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of glorious Pine Bluff, WI. You may recall that he founded a group called the Knights of Divine Mercy and that some months ago he switched to celebrating Mass ad orientem exclusively.
Fr. Heilman just celebrated his 25th anniversary, btw!
When they hauled the versus populum altar out of the church and into the rectory, I posted this:
Months later, here is an update.
I went to a celebration at the parish for Father’s 25th anniversary. He wanted to show me what he did with that altar they hauled out of the church to the rectory.
As you step into the front door of the rectory, there is a small vestibule with three doors. To the center, you enter the house. I’ll get to the left in a moment.
To the right, you find this!
The Blessed Sacrament is present with the permission of the local bishop.
He put clear appliques on the windows.
There are a couple chairs and kneelers.
“But Father! But Father!” you might be chirruping. “What behind the door to the left!”
Father Heilman’s office.
But with a difference.
He has installed a small confessional window in the door of his office and placed a kneeler in the small vestibule across from the little chapel.
This means that people can come to the rectory for confession pretty much at any time when Father is at home or, at least, in his office, and they can then pray before the the Eucharistic Lord and do their penance.
The outer door to the rectory will be rigged up soon with a wireless intercom and locking/unlocking gizmo.
When someone comes into that little vestibule, it will be as if they are in a confessional. Father than then zip over from the desk to the door on his rolling chair, open the window (there is an obscuring barrier for anonymity), and hear the penitent!
But wait! THERE’S MORE!
If that wasn’t cool enough….
Father has developed an app for his confession availability! MyConfessor!
People can see on the app whether Father is available. There is a description/bio of the priest, there is a good Examination of Conscience and helpful prayers.
Father can, from his desktop, switch his status to available/not available. He can also do so from his own mobile device if need be.
But WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
By linking with Google Maps, and when other priests get this app working, you will be able to see drop pins for priests hearing confessions by their availability!
Think about another way to use this app.
Perhaps I, who travel a lot, am in – say – an airport for a long layover. I am stuck at gate X8472 waiting for my flight. I get out my phone, open MyConfessor, pin myself at Gate X8472 and switch my status to available. While there are problems of anonymity and lack of a grate, etc. (I never hear confessions without a grate of some kind), most priests who travel in their black clothes and collar have heard confessions on the fly. Another scenario, World Youth Day… a conference… a rally. It is at least an interesting idea to tweak.
The very cool Fr. Heilman as viewed from near his desk.
The door behind him is the little chapel. The door to his left is the front, outside door to the rectory.
He even said he wouldn’t mind getting up in the night were someone to ring.
(FYI – He also has a really big dog in the house.)
What great zeal and creative use of tech!
Ultimate Fr Z Kudos and congratulations.
To be clear the APP is NOT YET FUNCTIONAL. The kinks are being straightened out.
I will update you.