Church Bingo was a pretty big thing in New Bedford

Have you ever gone to church to play bingo? My grandmother did, and so did my aunt Ella. In fact, I knew several older women who quite regularly went to the New Bedford church basement to play bingo. It was like there was a bingo game almost every night somewhere.

Most female bingo players I knew are gone now and it seems like most bingo games are too. It’s rare to see a bingo game these days. With the advent of regional casinos with more lucrative bingo and other jackpots, it has become difficult for churches to compete. Not only that, many churches that offered bingo have gone out of business.

Pictures added

Pictures added

I admit that in the 1970s, Nana and Aunt Ella invited me to a few bingo games. I suspect they needed transportation, which I eagerly provided.

Who can forget when the bingo caller shouted “B-4” and the entire St. Anthony basement bingo crowd answered in unison, “AND AFTER!”

I learned about daubers playing bingo in church, as well as how to make a “V” and a “B” and how to fill the whole board to win – not that I ever won or anything fine, but Nana and Aunt Ella did it.

Tax relief for bingo announced in the budget

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Church bingo players are superstitious creatures. Nana had about a dozen or more lucky charms that she would place on the table before the first game was called. Usually the lucky charms were elephants and the trunk of the elephant had to be pointed towards the door to maximize luck.

Massachusetts Lottery Lists All Licensed Bingo Games by the community on its web page. There are no games in New Bedford, although New Bedford’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on North Front Street, which recently closed, remains on the list.

If you decide to take part in a little old-fashioned bingo action, have fun and don’t forget to point the elephant’s trunk at the door for good luck!

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