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Priest moves masses to prevent drinking

A PRIEST has called time on his mid-morning Sunday mass after losing a battle with a local pub for his flock.

Marek Lengyel, a priest from the eastern Slovak village of Hermanovce, decided to move back the starting times for two Sunday masses with the hope that men who attend the services will not leave and go straight to the local pub for a beer. The masses were held at 9:00 and 10:30, but they have now been moved to 7:00 and 9:00.

In a recent sermon, Lengyel criticised beer drinkers and bartenders, and appealed to his community to boycott the bar for two weeks.

"I moved the time of masses so that the faithful wouldn't go straight to the bar from the services. If the owner of the bar moves his opening hours as a result, I will just change the time of the services again," Lengyel told the daily Nový Čas. The bar opens at 11:30 on Sunday.

Eduard Valenčík, the owner of the bar in Hermanovce, refused to comment on the new arrangement, but admitted that since the priest started his campaign against beer drinking, his revenues have fallen by 10 per cent.

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