St. Edward the Confessor, New Fairfield drive-in Mass

NEW FAIRFIELD—The parking lot of St. Edward the Confessor resembled a drive-in movie theater from years ago as Catholics gathered to worship at an outdoor Mass.

The well-orchestrated first mass of its kind at the church offered an opportunity for disciples of Christ to participate in Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time in more than two months since the state was shuttered due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I haven’t seen you guys in so long,” Rev. Nick Cirillo said. “I’m so happy to see you all now,” he exclaimed as he stood under the awning of the church entryway to shelter from the persistent rain and occasional downpour. About 60 cars were lined up in the parking lot facing the entry of the church.

Church goers were given a list of instructions when they arrived at the church, walking them through the new procedures including tuning into 87.9 FM to hear the Mass in their cars, how Holy Communion would be distributed and a reminder to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“My friends these are crazy days,” Father Cirillo said. “When we are willing to do what it takes to be in the presence of Christ, we rejoice that we can be together in this way,” he said.

Just as Father Cirillo was saying the blessings over the gifts, the sun began breaking through the clouds.

When it was time to offer a sign of peace, people waved to each other through their car windows and bigger than the enthusiastic waves were the smiles on everyone’s faces; an expression of the undeniable happiness to see one another and participate in the Mass together.

St. Edward’s was the first parish to be founded after the Bridgeport Diocese was established in 1953 and is one of the first to offer drive-in Masses for its parishioners.

Ushers walked through the row of cars indicating an opportunity for people to leave their cars with a face covering on and approach the altar to receive Holy Communion. Communion was brought to cars for the handicapped or infirm as denoted by a yellow magnetic flag placed on the hood of the car upon arrival.

“Because it is Memorial Day Weekend, we want to pray for all those who have died defending our country all over the world,” Father Cirillo said.

At the conclusion of Mass and as the congregants started to drive away, as orderly as they entered, Father Cirillo and Deacon Patrick Shevlin waved to the people in their cars and over the exit hymn playing on the radio, Father Cirillo said, “Many blessings and safety to you all.”

By Kathy-Ann Gobin