V8s for vocations – Priest’s garage gang fundraiser

Doing up V8s started out as way of fundraising for seminary education. Then, somewhere amidst the spanners, “V8s for Vocations” became a unique form of evangelization.

It all started when mechanic-turned-priest Father Matthew Keller gathered together a “Garage Gang” of classic car aficionados.

Between them, they restored a “muscle car“, which they raffled in an online sweep.

Their 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport was in top form: they raised US$140,000 and the money was spent on seminary education.

After their success, Keller and the Garage Gang began restoring a 1969 Pontiac Firebird convertible.

Keller is personally refurbishing the 350 cubic-inch V-8 engine that’s mated to a three-speed Hydra-Matic transmission.

They’re hoping to get $100,000 from the $25 per ticket raffle for the car.

Whoever wins it will enjoy the car’s original cream interior, new top, power steering and power brakes.

But there’s more to the work than doing up cars and raising much-needed money.

The workshop has also become an unanticipated “rallying point for evangelization, and I just didn’t see that coming,” Keller says.

“There are some men that would come to the garage on the back side of the church that wouldn’t necessarily come through the front doors,” he explained, “and they’re spending hours and hours.”

Some have even asked him to hear their confessions in the workshop.

“And it’s their way of contributing and being a part of something for God.”

“It’s that whole thing that Pope Francis is asking of us — to go to the periphery,” he added.


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