By Lucas Parker
“Credit or debit?” can now be heard during collection time at Sunday Mass.
Tithing at St. Ambrose Parish in Boise, Idaho has taken a progressive turn, as ushers have been armed with PIN pads for rounding the pews, leaving the fraying wicker baskets behind.
Pastor Fr. Ralph Maloney, “sick and tired” of the ushers’ complaints about congregants avoiding eye contact while perpetually empty collection baskets expectantly neared their faces, perceived the need for a new approach: “We know they’re not that broke. They just don’t carry cold, hard cash anymore. We had to make it more convenient for parishioners to pony up more funds.”
In response to inquiries about whether or not this liturgical practice poses any risk of sacrilege, Fr. Ralph stated, “I see it as a beautiful expression of the Church’s constant self-renewal, which is informed by contemporary times. Sometimes, the Church just has to come to the people, wherever they’re at in life. I’m positive this is in accordance with the spirit of Vatican II. The biggest problem about all this was figuring out how to duct tape those pad things onto the end of the basket stick.”
When asked if the irritating beeping of the PIN pads blaring “Please remove your card” would distract the congregation at a time of reverence, Fr. Ralph dismissively chuckled, “Well, enough of the folks ‘round here need hearing aids anyway and sit far enough apart from each other that I don’t foresee that being an issue.”
After Fr. Ralph put in a plug for the up-and-coming parish Venmo account, @payur10%, the phone interview ended early when he made known his need to rehearse with the liturgical dancers for next Sunday’s service.