A CHURCH congregation which is raising cash to pay for roof repairs has received some divine intervention...in the shape of a zucchetto worn by Pope Francis.

The skullcap will be among the items up for grabs as the Diocese of Paisley stages its inaugural Bishop’s Ball.

Proceeds from the event will help to pay for repairs to the hall at St John’s Church, in Barrhead.

And the fundraising drive received another boost when a Paisley-based motor dealership donated a car to be used as a raffle prize.

The winners of the new Suzuki Celerio, provided by the Phoenix Car Company, and a host of other prizes will be declared during the ball at Glasgow’s Doubletree Hilton Hotel on Saturday, October 7.

Father Paul Brady, parish priest at St John’s Church, said: “The hall roof was leaking badly, so we changed it from a flat roof to a pitched roof.

“We were looking for fundraising suggestions and a parishioner came up with the idea of holding a ball.

“We presented it to Bishop John Keenan and he said he would support it.

“Glasgow has always had the Cardinal’s Ball or the Archbishop’s Ball but this is from the Diocese of Paisley and we hope to hold the event annually.

“This year, the fundraising money will go to us here at St John’s to offset the cost of the new roof on the church hall but, in future years, money raised will be used on other projects.

“We are selling tables of 10 at £1,000 per table and that includes dinner, entertainment, an auction and raffle.”

Father Paul added: “I would like to thank John McGuire, of Phoenix Car Company, for his very generous gift of a Suzuki Celerio as a raffle prize.

“John suggested that he would try to give a car to raffle when I was speaking to him about the need for a new roof on our church hall.

“When work was about to begin, he was kind enough to donate a car to us.”

Bosses at Phoenix Car Company said they are delighted to support the inaugural Bishop’s Ball.

Debbie Hubner, sales and communications director, added: “A large number of our customers live in Barrhead and a lot of them are served by St John’s, so it makes sense for us to have a connection with that community.

“We have a long history with the area and it is very important to us that we are able to give something back.”

To buy tickets for the raffle, priced £5 each, or book your place at the ball, telephone Father Paul on 0141 876 1553.