Credit/Debit for Jesus Puts St. Anthony Shrine in the News

Diane Monaghan Around the Province

BOSTON — The phone seemed like it wouldn’t stop ringing. David Conventino, OFM, guardian and executive director of St. Anthony Shrine here, was interviewed by a major Boston newspaper reporter, a National Public Radio broadcaster, and Drew Mariony of  Catholic Talk Radio Network. Brian Smail, OFM, was interviewed by a reporter from the National Catholic Register.

In addition, articles appeared in the Boston Herald, on TheBostonChannel.com and on CNN.com. A segment filmed in front of the Shrine ran on Aug. 25, on Boston WHDH-TV’s 7 p.m. news.

Why all of the hoopla?  “That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” said David.  It all began when a reporter for the Boston Herald heard about the Shrine’s newest way of giving money and asked to write a story about the “Credit/Debit for Jesus.”

In December, the Shrine installed a giving kiosk purchased from SecureGive, Augusta, Ga. The kiosk, similar in appearance to a credit card machine, allows worshippers and visitors to donate money to the Shrine using debit or credit cards.

“We’ve been taking credit cards for years, so the concept is not new,” said David. “The interesting aspect about the kiosk, which we call the Franciscan Giving Center, is that it is so convenient. People don’t have to worry about carrying cash for the collection basket or giving out their credit card numbers at the front desk. Because more and more people carry less and less cash, a machine like this is just a natural evolution,” he said.

David is happy about the fact that St. Anthony Shrine is the first Catholic Church in the entire world to install one. “I guess that makes us cutting edge,” he said.

— Diane Monaghan is director of development for St. Anthony Shrine.