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Bingo ends at Middletown church, angering players - abc27 WHTM

Bingo ends at Middletown church, angering players

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

What would drive a group of bingo players to heckle a priest? It was the last time they would get to play at the social hall of a Middletown church.

Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary held its last round of bingo Thursday night.

Bingo has been a church staple for decades.

"I have been here 47 years playing bingo," Melinda Daniels of Middletown said.

It was a well-oiled bingo operation. They have all the equipment, refreshments that look more like home-cooked meals, and plenty of people who want to play.

Daniels shells out $40 a week to get in on the action.

"Why are you taking it away? It just doesn't make sense," she said.

Apparently, she wasn't the only one who was upset. Before the game started, the church's priest, Father Ted Keating, addressed the crowd of a few hundred people. At one point boos and cursing erupted.

Keating explained the reasoning behind the move in a prior interview.

"I know it's tough for some people," he said. "This wasn't a personal decision on the parish's part or my part."

Keating said shutting down bingo was a diocese recommendation. He said that Thursday night bingo prevents students at the parish's school from using the space.

Keating believes that the space could be used for a soup kitchen or a senior center, even though those activities produce no revenue. Bingo brings in $12,000 a year.

"We don't need to do a fund raiser every week. Yes, our parish is struggling for money, but I think if we can make a difference in people's lives, it can make a difference in our church," he said.

Bingo will now be moved to a nearby fire hall and the equipment will be donated. The proceeds will benefit Middletown youth.

 

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