Lottery winner's son finds religion

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  • betterdaze

    Lottery winner's son finds religion

    Published: May 26, 2011 10:24 PM?By MATTHEW CHAYES [email protected]

    For Gloria Bentivegna, winning the $1-million lottery jackpot was . . . divine.

    The West Babylon woman is crediting the state Lottery win with helping to bring her son Sal, 28, -- who places himself someplace on the spectrum between atheism and agnosticism -- back to his mother's faith.

    The day before she won the scratch-off game in late April, Sal had challenged his mother -- and their Roman Catholic faith -- to win in the name of religious proof.

    "I told her, 'Why don't you ask Jesus for a million dollars?' and she said, 'It doesn't work like that,' " he said Thursday.

    " 'Jesus, give my mom a million dollars,' " the Smithtown man recalled saying at the time. "If he wanted me to have a little bit of faith, he would do it."

    Then his Gloria Bentivegna, 61, won.

    "It was a true miracle," the retired store manager said. "I prayed for it so hard. . . . Jesus was there, guiding everything."

    After taxes, she will be paid $33,000 a year for 20 years, which is about how long she said her son hasn't gone to church.

    But all that's changing: After Bentivegna won, Sal, a car audio installation technician, and his mom went to a Wednesday Mass at Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Deer Park, his first service in decades.

    Bentivegna said she's still absorbing the fact that she's a winner and hasn't decided how she'll spend the money.

    And her son is beginning to believe again.

    "There's so many coincidences. Sure, I could brush it off as another freak incident. But to do so would be just stupid -- would be ignorant on my part," he said.

  • dgp

    Well, sometimes people do believe that things like these are signs from the Lord.

    Cynic me wonders Sal's motives to go back to his now rich mother. Is it the money? No?

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