THERE WAS a time when God through persuasive nuns and enthusiastic priests got families to part with pennies they didn’t have to look after the Black Babies.
Today, the Man Above has gone digital or at least some of His flock have.
A contraption is now in place in the beautiful Catholic church of St Colmcille in picturesque Inistioge that encourages Mass-goers, drop-in parishioners who nip in for a quiet word with God, or a visitor passing through who might be quite happy to pray and pay.
It is a machine that encourages a kind of silent collection as it asks for €5 donations for church funds.
Out the window goes the excuse that you have no change. Signage says tap to donate within and there is a thank you message, a modern version perhaps of Blessed Martin’s friendly nod of approval in other times after a donation of a coin to his collection box.
Kilkenny Press was told about the modern fundraiser by an Inistioge church attender who admitted to being kind of non-plussed by the embracement of technology, with nobody required to rattle a bucket or baskek for kindness money.
DEALING WITH A MACHINE
It is a bit like going into a bank today and dealing with a machine, with not a clerk in sight.
It is perhaps a positive step in that the moneymaker is alive for as long as the church door is open.
So instead of meeting his flock, encouraging them to part with Visa or Mastercard offerings, a padre can do the business in the confessional or call to a local home to pray with or for an ill parishioner.
Regardless, the Church of St Colmcille’s dip into technology seems to be a first in Ossory or perhaps we simply haven’t noticed any other mod funding techniques.
So, until we hear otherwise we will credit the St Colmcille team with a breakthrough that may bring cheers from some parishioners and tut tuts from others who may lean on the word impersonal.
The move is a far cry from the days when people of means stuffed creased pound notes into an envelopes to pay their Lenten dues.
Those were the same days when others simply hadn’t a brass farthing to donate to the upkeep of their favoured place of worship.
TIMES OF HARDSHIP
They were times of hardship when some not so Christian local clergy called out in church how much families parted with or posted notices at the back of a church with lists of donors.
Lord and Lady Piss in the Bucket 2 guineas; the Wobble Chop Sisters, Main Street Sixpence.
The modus operandi was less than Christian or humane and certainly smacked of a kind of blackmail that would most likely be frowned on were it to get to the agenda of any Heavenly Board Meeting.
No such accusations can be thrown at the novel new way of seeking support.
It certainly gets marks for ingenuity.
Whether or not it gets the thumbs up from all God’s children remains to be seen.
Pray and pay would appear to be the message, hardly a warm slogan but one that may get church-goers dipping into their wallets and purses.
God only knows at this juncture.