A convenience store called Cigars and Smoke was transformed into a liquor bar in March this year.
The bar sits just 200 feet away from the church of St. Augustine. This infuriated the congregation of St. Augustine, and local officials scratched their heads because a loophole in the County’s law allows a bar to be opened next to a church.
Every day, while the members of St. Augustine’s church were getting ready for their evening service, bartenders of Cigars and Smoke next door were also getting ready for their evening service. “Our community is a quiet one. Now every church-goer is complaining about the noise since it opened in March” said a senior member of the congregation.
For almost a month Father Patrick, the parish priest rained down brimstone and fire from the pulpit against the bar. “We are seeking the presence of the Lord and it is not congruent and it is not acceptable to us to have that damn thing next door to us,” he said. His congregation joined him in prayer invoking God to have the business closed.
A month later, Cigars and Smoke was struck by lightning and was burned to ashes.
The bar owner sued the parish priest and the entire church members for restitution for the loss of his bar. He claimed the lightning that struck his bar was the direct result of their prayer to God.
The parish priest and the members of the congregation countered this allegation and denied all responsibility.
The learned judge after listening to the arguments of both the parties commented:
“It is difficult to decide the case because we have here on one side a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and on the other side a priest and an entire congregation that does not believe in it!“