BOSTON — A shrine to a Catholic saint in Boston received an early and unexpected Christmas gift when a man decided to donate his winning $100,000 lottery ticket.
Maryanne Rooney-Hegan, the director of development at St. Anthony Shrine, says a man who wishes to remain anonymous recently called her with news that he had a winning ticket.
“He said, ‘It’s $100,000, and I’d like you to have it; especially at this time of year, I know you can use it,’” Rooney-Hegan told the Boston Herald in an interview.
The donor is a parishioner with “a heart as big as Fenway Park,” Rooney-Hegan says.
The man dropped off the ticket on Monday. Rooney-Hegan and Father Thomas Conway, the shrine’s executive director, collected the winnings at the Massachusetts State Lottery’s Braintree headquarters.
The church had been robbed earlier in November and since it is considered autonomous doesn’t receive funding from the Boston Archdiocese and mostly depends on donors.
The money will go toward feeding and providing community outreach services to the less fortunate and homeless, Conway said.
“He’s really, really touched people and inspired them and made them feel better about humanity to tell you the truth,” Conway said of the anonymous donor in an interview.
Even the parishioners were dumbstruck by the generous gift. “I love that. I would love to be able to do that,” Paula Stanziani, a worshiper, told CBS Boston. “I think that’s so amazing.”
The Shrine has been operating for 69 years and has more than 30 outreach ministries, including The Franciscan Food Center – in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank and Bread on the Common – which assists homeless people.
Conway tells The Boston Herald the donor “just paid for our Christmas.”
Crux staff contributed to this article.