St. James Bingo

 April 9th will be an end of an era in Salem.  It will be the last Wednesday night the St. James Hall will be bustling with activity, numbers will be called and BINGO will be excitedly proclaimed.  I have been lucky enough to be a volunteer at St. James Bingo for 6 years.  What started out as an obligation for school tuition vouchers  has turned into a cherished weekly activity.  The three volunteers who have run the bingo since the 1990’s, Rich, Marcel and Kathy, have created the best run Bingo on the North  Shore.  An average of two hundred players from all walks of life gather under one roof weekly to enjoy a night out, socialize and hope they hit the jackpot.  They line up their lucky charms at their seats;  some have religious charms, pictures of dearly departed and random rocks and trinkets.  Each player is unique.


I have become so close to some of them.  I have been to their wakes, get concerned when they are not there, notice when they have their hair done,  I love making them smile and I cried with them last night when the closing  was announced.  They loved it when I was pregnant with my daughter and I waddled up and down the aisles.  They now treat my five year old girl like their own grandchild.  The wonderful people I volunteer with have become my family and we are the best team around. 


The new church collaborative and finance committee in this city have changed things for the worse and it is driving us all away.  The BINGO is NOT about the Catholic Church to me.  It is about the people and the social service we provide to those who look forward to their night out.  It is about the sense of community that is disappearing more and more every day in  this society.


Thank you Rich Julien, Marcel Nadeau and Kathy Luongo.  Thank you for letting me be part of your team and thank you to all the players I cherish.  I will miss you more than you know. 



Merry Christmas March 29, 2014 at 03:26 AM
Its time to see new change in salem. but all they had to do was open there eyes and do something a different way. lets face it its gambling and goes against the catholic teachings. we have keno scratch tickets and casinos coming. . this bingo is seen by many as a waste of time and its not worth that amount of money if people jus donated what they spent on bingo the church would be better off. it is the utmost unhealthy group of people and just a seedy environment. this is the more liberal side of boston ancient catholic ways that need to change. if people weren't ignorant they would have an event. I suppose if it wernt for money no one would go but if it were for some vacation or some grocery shopping trip it would be more fun or other prize. most of the people go and smoke drink soda and popcorn. most are over weight and smoke theres really no benefit to the bingo the school had debt and thebingo didn't rescue it and the parish has debt so its really just ablack hole and a waste of resources. if they want to be social theres social clubs and a senior center theres community meetings. they can go to church an socialize.
Marc Deschenes March 30, 2014 at 05:30 PM
This will lead to the end of the Catholic Church in Salem which I believe was Sean O'Malley's plan from the start. He sent a pastor with no leadership ability at all. The Salem catholic collaborative is a joke.
Christine M Plecinoga March 31, 2014 at 07:39 PM
FYI smoking has not been permitted in Salem or any other city in Massachusettes in quite some time. Also, most of the people that attend the Bingo at St. John's I can't speak for St. James don't attend our church. And please let me know what you mean by "seedy" because I'd love to know.


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