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Parish Rips Off Bingo Volunteers

For decades bingo has had a very close relationship with the Catholic Church in the United States and Canada. Many parishes use funds raised by bingo games to provide scholarships to needy students, programs that benefit the poor, church maintenance and other projects and activities. In Rochester many parishioners have lost all trust in local church officials. Dozens of families in the Rochester New York area told reporters that they were cut off from thousands of dollars in scholarship money that they earned for their children and say that the church is responsible.

After months of trying to deal with church officials and getting nowhere several families contacted a local television station. The television reporters were able to get some answers for parishioners. The parishioners say they love their church but hate what has been going on. For years they volunteered at the parish’s bingo games to raise money for St. John the Evangelist in Greece and in return they earned scholarship credits to help pay for their children’s tuition at the parochial school. The credits were also used to offset expenses at Catholic colleges. For years each credit has been valued at $250.

The parishioners said that when a new priest arrived last year he shut the bingo games down and would not give parishioners the money they had earned. At a Friday night game at Bingo World in Greece. Linda DiCecca is running the board.  For years she volunteered because she got scholarship money so her children could attend the parish’s schools. DiCecca told reporters “It goes towards my child’s education. I depend on it.” When bingo was shut down Linda was told she would not receive the credits she had earned. Linda stated “We’ve already put forth the effort. We’ve already worked and it’s involved time on our part and effort and we’re being dismissed.”

Linda said the cancellation of the bingo games has affected about 70 families who volunteered at the games including Tammy Mardo who said “I feel that they let a lot of us down because a lot of people are struggling to put their kids through catholic schools.” The families said the problem started when Father Peter Enyan-Boadu arrived. Reporters tried to contact Father Peter but in an email the priest said that he “respectfully declines your invitation to comment.” The Diocese also refused to answer questions but said that “all those who file the proper paperwork will receive the credit due to them.”

The lesson learned her is to get everything in writing even if it an institution you trust. The bingo games had been going on for 30 years before the new priest arrogantly shut them down. The volunteers say the parish is giving them $60 per credit instead of the $250 they actually earned. Some parishioners will not accept the lesser amount. If this is how this parish and diocese does business I would be looking for another church.

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