The Irish bookmakers, Paddy Power, have paid over $15,000 to sponsor a church confession box, “The Paddy Power Sin Bin.”
Our Lady and St Etheldreda’s Church, in Suffolk, England, were trying to raise $99,000 for church refurbishments, including an altar and font, and a well-meaning fundraiser phoned Paddy Power looking for donations.
The fundraiser thought that a company with such an Irish sounding name might be open to sponsoring a Catholic Church.
They did not expect Paddy Power himself to answer the phone and commit to such a generous and original donation.
"Paddy Power was captivated by the thought of a new confessional box,” said Father Michael Griffin, a priest at the church.
He went on to say that everyone “liked a flutter” and that gamble was only a sin if it meant a family would have to go without food.
“From our point of view it's a great fit to sponsor a confession box in a church nestled in the galloping heart of British horse racing,” said Power.
"We hope that, over time, confessing your sins in the Paddy Power confession box will become a tradition for Newmarket race-goers."
World famous horse jockey, Frankie Dettori was first to use the confessional, which features a small plaque reading “The Paddy Power Sin Bin.”
The Communications manager for Paddy Power attended midday mass at the church.
He said, “I met with a few of the parishioners and they were upbeat about it.
Some even said they would pop in and say confession on their way to the Guineas [a race meeting] on Saturday.”