Communicating with God: One Person at a Time (Chapter 5, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 5

First there were the Sunday collection(s) and also Holydays of Obligation (and the first thing the Parish Priest did when the new diary appeared was to work out when and if such a holyday would fall on a Sunday. This calamity would mean a loss of income which he would estimate to within an incredibly close amount.) Come rain or shine, summer or winter, people could only enter the church through a side door and get wet and cold if necessary while they paid 'door money' at the table strategically placed to allow only one body in at a time. The heavies who were in charge of the collecting (and the priest who was not saying that Mass usually stood there benignly welcoming the flock) had little piles of small change so that when a 2/6 coin - a half crown - {just over 10p at present} - which was a customary sort of amount - was offered he or she was given back 2/3p. Children were expected to put in a penny or, if getting on a bit, a 3p bit. Clutching their change people then proceeded to spread it through the rest of the collections during Mass: at the Offertory, after Holy Communion and after the Blessing. Should there be a special appeal such as for Foreign Missions or the Diocesan Orphanage, then another and very special collection - often 'lifted' by the priest doing the appealing - would take place after the Consecration. ['Lifted' is the official term for a church collection. You don't 'take it up', collect or gather it. It is lifted!] The wide front doors were then thrown open for people to leave while the new lot waiting for the next Mass were being let in through the side door. [To understand the finances: 6 old pennies were more or less the equivalent now of 2 ½ new pence. There were five such 6 pence's in 'half a crown' or 2/6 and eight half crowns or 240 pennies in £1]. I think!

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