St. Lawrence Basilica parishioners promote fair trade
ASHEVILLE — Laurentine Hall, under the beautiful Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville, became a hub of "fair trade" activities June 18-19 as the site for a Catholic Relief Services' "Work of Human Hands" sale.
While enjoying coffee from Kenya and Mexico, shoppers from St. Lawrence and other parishes perused the festively decorated displays of handcrafts made by artisans from around the world.
The efforts of the social justice ministry of St. Lawrence Basilica to promote fair trade, led by parishioner Ken Hillberry, offered a variety of venues to promote fair trade in the weeks leading up to the sale. Hillberry, who has been trained by CRS as a fair trade ambassador, sees these events as "opportunities to promote the message and mission of CRS and the concept of fair trade, and to support the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially solidarity with the world's poor."
St. Lawrence hosted three "Spirit-trade Cafés" in May, providing samples of fair trade coffees, teas and chocolates. Attendees also learned about CRS and its fair trade program through viewing a short video.
The CRS Fair Trade Program provides hard-working people around the world access to services and marketing channels so they can retain a greater share of the value of the goods they produce. Providing technical and financial assistance to artisans and farmers, CRS helps connect producers to consumers (such as shoppers at CRS "Work of Human Hands" sales).
Though fair trade goods such as coffee and chocolate cost more than similar products sold in supermarkets, many people want to pay the higher prices because they know their purchases of certified CRS fair trade products means more money goes to the farm owners and workers.
Besides supporting the producers and artisans participating in CRS fair trade channels, each fair trade item purchased results in a percentage of the sale price going into a Fair Trade Fund that CRS uses to support grants to small-scale producers and expand the fair trade distribution network.
"I am sharing my gifts as a member of the Body of Christ, communicating global awareness and promoting action with a conscience," Hillberry said. He encourages other parishes to host a similar fair trade sale. "CRS provides excellent advice and direction, they are a wonderful experience for all, and you have fun doing it!"
Pictured above: Ken Hillberry talks about fair trade coffee with fellow St. Lawrence parishioner Ron Ricardo during a "Work of Human Hands" sale June 18. (Joseph Purello, Catholic News Herald)
Promote fair trade
To plan a fall Work of Human Hands sale in your parish or to buy CRS fair trade products, visit www.crsfairtrade.org or call 1-800-685-7572.
-- Joseph Purello, Office of Justice and Peace, Catholic Social Services
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy