One pastor’s two parishes big ADA winners

Consider Father Tom Hollaway’s parishes in Bushnell and St. Augustine the “Slumdog Millionaires” of Saturday’s much anticipated prize drawings at the Annual Diocesan Appeal kickoff event.

While the movie swept the Academy Awards, the parishes led by Father Holloway swept major attendance awards designed to give winning parishes a jump-start toward their respective ADA goals.

St. Bernard’s Parish in Bushnell was credited with $10,000 toward its appeal goal when the ticket of ADA volunteer Elaine McGinnis was drawn from a barrel containing hundreds of names of those in attendance at the appeal planning event at the new Spalding Pastoral Center.

Moments earlier, St. Augustine’s Parish in St. Augustine — of which Father Holloway is also pastor — was named the $5,000 winner when the winning ticket of parishioner Milinda Potter was announced.

At weekend Masses at both churches, Father Holloway deserved nomination for a best actor award for his performance in announcing the news.

“I told them I had good news and bad news,” Father Holloway reported to The Catholic Post. “The good news was that our assessments didn’t go up” because the overall appeal goal is the same as in 2008.

“The bad news,” he told them straight-faced at both locations, “is that (the opposite parish) won the drawing.”

A true, if not complete statement.

After a pause the pastor let both parishes in on the additional good news that their parish had won as well. Spontaneous applause broke out.

Father Holloway went on to tell both churches to recognize their good fortune as “a time of blessing” in otherwise hard economic times. A condition of the drawing is that winning parishes still need to conduct the appeal.

“We need to be smart and responsible stewards with this blessing to help in future years,” said Father Holloway, who praised members of both parishes for being “very generous.”

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