His parish was having financial pains, but that didn’t stop Robin Hood of New Jersey here from starting a school for the grade-school children in his parish.
Ascolese was steadfastly determined because, being a big Whitney Houston fan, he knew “the children was our future.”
Ascolese devised a Powerball lottery-type raffle that would generate $400,000 from ticket sales, of which $200,000 would automatically go to the church treasury. Ascolese purchased unsold tickets under fictitious names that ”won” each lottery from 2001 through 2005. He issued checks to the fictitious winners and cashed them. Winning ticket money was turned over to the church treasury.
Admirable? Possibly. Necessary? Probably not. Foolish? Yes! Dude, what were you thinking? Oh yeah, the kids. Well, set them aside and think about your job. You know, you read from a best-selling book for a living that talks A LOT about faith, trust in God, obedience to his word and in vogue things like that.
Why not put that collar to the test and see if God is who he said he is? I know it’s tough to fully commit every time you fill the church van with $120 in gas, but you don’t quit. God rewards the faithful and diligent. So, pay your paltry fine and use the kids as motivation in another way. Like a car wash? God knows you have enough publicity out of this stunt. Serendipity, eh?
Let’s all hold hands and sing a verse of “Down by the river.” At least before you get sent up one next time.