PARISH REPORT: Pastor Teams Up With Groupon to Offer Penance Discounts

confessional catholic humor

(AoftheANews) – APPLETON, WI – Father Gordon Zolla, pastor of Our Lady of Best Intentions in Appleton WI, had a problem: how to inspire his parishioners to take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

“I’m not a fire and brimstone sorta priest,” he told AoftheA News. “My parishioners would turn a deaf ear if I preached we’re required to go to confession at least once a year, or to have mortal sins forgiven. Subjects like hell and damnation are a turn off around here. Still, the sacrament is important, and I wanted to give my flock an incentive to use it.”

So he turned to Groupon, the popular on-line discount provider, to motivate his parishioners.

“Everyone loves a deal,” he said. “People are always looking to save a buck. People don’t spend money at Confession, but they do “spend” time. So I thought, why not come up with a way where the parishioners will save some time? That’s how I came up with the 70% Discount Penance Coupon. When I assign a penance – a decade of the rosary, for instance – if the penitent hands me the coupon, they only have to say 3 Hail Mary’s.”

Our Lady of Best Intentions’ office manager, Belle Mont, set up the Groupon deal, adding the link and parish code in the weekly bulletin. Parishioners can download the coupon from the Groupon site onto their smartphone and show it to the priest during confession, or print it out at home ahead of time.

Parishioner Rick Otta is a fan. “It’s great. Father’s penance was a Holy Hour in the adoration chapel, but with my coupon, I got it down to 18 minutes.”

Photo credit: mikecogh via / CC BY-SA

About Larry D

LarryD has been blogging since March 2008, making observations on trends within the culture and the Church. His goal? Poking hornets nests with a stick and injecting humor into the New Evangelization, with the gentle reminder that everyone's taking themselves way too seriously. He currently resides in Michigan.
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