NEWS

Church uses incentives to fill up the pews

Sandra L. Churchill

A new practice at St. Ann’s Church in West Bridgewater, Mass., just might fuel attendance in these days of $4-per-gallon fill-ups.

Twice a month, there is a drawing at the end of each weekend Mass for a $50 gas card.

The Rev. Edward McDonagh, pastor of St. Ann’s, said the idea was based on a Providence bishop providing public transportation coupons to assist parishioners in attending Mass.

“For most of us, church is a short drive … and that’s where most of our gas goes — on short drives,” said McDonagh. “This is a way of showing our concern for one another in this economy … because we’re all in the same boat.”

“I think it is a fun idea for the parishioners to feel involved and feel like they’re part of the Mass,” said parishioner Anne Sheedy of West Bridgewater.

“What better way to show you care than helping families out with a gas card?” Sheedy said.

“Whether it’s a monetary prize or not, it’s a way of keeping involved, and training the kids to pay attention at Mass,” she added.

McDonagh said a side benefit of the raffle is attendance through the end of the Mass, since parishioners must be present to win the drawing.