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Public asked to pray, not pay, to park in coveted church car park

by Tola Mbakwe

According to The Times, 65-year-old Fr Vincenzo De Mario came up with the idea as a way to boost church attendance.

"Church attendance is in decline and we are looking for a way to bring people back," he said.

He said parking is scarce in the town of Avezzano so the church's 200 parking spots are coveted.

The Times reports it costs ten Hail Marys for an hour parking, 20 for two hours and 50 for five hours.

If a driver only needs to park for 15 minutes, they're asked to recite one Hail Mary, the Lord's Prayer and another short prayer.

Fr De Mario said it takes praying for parking to a new level.

"People often pray for a parking spot, and here you really do, literally, pray for parking.

"Everyone loves it and what's important is that it makes people smile," he told The Times.  

He added that he isn't completely serious about the system and won't be checking if people are praying after parking.

"If motorists say at least one prayer, or even glance at the heavens, that will make me happy," he said.

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