You can’t go to church with your spouse, but you can walk in.
It’s a way of connecting with the congregation, says Father Paul Bock, who’s been a vicar for more than 40 years.
Bock, the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in downtown Salt Lake City, said the church has seen a big uptick in parishioners during Lent, the time of year when people in the U.S. and other Western countries fast from the end of Lent to Easter.
It can be especially popular for women and young people who feel they need a break from church obligations.
“The idea of getting a ride home from church or to go to the store or to a movie theater is pretty much a requirement for many of these folks,” Bock said.
“I’m really seeing more people get in touch with their own spirituality and their own spiritual needs, and get to know the parishioner better and better.”
Bock said he sees people going to church as a way to “reach out” to each other and reconnect to their roots.
He said he and his wife also spend the first part of Lent on Sunday mornings in the church car to give parishionrs the opportunity to meet up and share stories and experiences.
They also have a lot of love to give back.
A recent trip to a local Walmart resulted in an estimated $3,000 in donations.
Bishop Kevin Haughey said the parish has received a great deal of interest from the church and the parish’s community.
The bishop said it’s a sign of how much people want to give.
“People want to share in the spirit, they want to help each other, they’re interested in learning more about each other,” Haugherty said.
“They want to see the parish growing, and it’s just a sign that people are really looking for this kind of community.”
He said the goal is to have 10,000 cars in the area by the end to help parishionlers in need.
The bishop also said he’s happy to have more priests who live vicariably, but said the majority of priests have already been living vicarally for many years.
The Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir has a full-time priest car that can be found at most church buildings and is filled with about 40 singers.
Bock says he has seen many people show up to the choir’s rehearsal each Sunday with no reservation.
Bocks wife, Karen, is a singer who’s also a parishionery chaplain.
She’s one of the choir members who is always in the car, and she’s seen many church members turn to her to get some help with things like a choreography or some singing exercises.
She said she’s happy that the church’s volunteers have stepped up to provide those services.
Bick said it helps that many people in his church are very devout, and the choir is known for having some very talented singers.
He noted that one of his choir members recently had the opportunity and privilege to sing at the funeral of one of their church members.
“It’s a very special opportunity to see a young, beautiful woman, and I was so proud of her,” Bick said.