In the run up to Advent the Annual Fairtrade Fair was held in the Parish Centre next to the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George, Enfield. The Mass readings had called us to be prepared for the sun being darkened and the stars falling down, but also for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all tears will be wiped away and those who seek justice and encourage others to do so will shine as starsfor all eternity
In Enfield there was no lack of shining stars with the Little Sisters of Jesus selling plants for CAFOD’s emergency programme in the Yemen; with young people from the parish Confirmation group gaining ideas about ways in which they might put to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit they will receive at Pentecost; and with Beena and her family raising funds for CAFOD with their most tempting cakes and pastries, made with Fairtrade ingredients.
Our local Tradecraft volunteer sold tea and coffee, cereals, and a range of other goods which had been produced without exploitation of working people or the environment in developing countries. CAFOD and Pax Christi offered Christmas cards and goods that will find their way into Christmas stockings and another stall gave parishioners the opportunity of helping poorPalestinian families producing olive oil and knitted goods. TheParish Justice and Peace Group had organised the morning and set a quiz from which it was amazing to learn that 40,000 varieties of rice were grown round the world.
At this time, when the preoccupation of Brexit has caused much national navel gazing, Christmas again provides all of us with the opportunity to look beyond our immediate concerns. We can support those in poorer nations by ensuring that our Christmas shopping, as much as possible, includes fairtrade products. Remember, CAFOD World Gifts can be bought as cheaply as £4.00 and, as well as genuinely helping some of the most deprived people in the world, allows the giver to present you with a virtual goat or flock of chickens!
Nearly half the parishes in the Westminster Diocese are CAFOD Fair Trade parishes which means that they provide fairly traded coffee, tea andbiscuits at parish meetings and once a year hold events like Enfield’s Fair. If three more parishes sign up to commit themselves to meeting these simple conditions Westminster will be the first Fair Trade diocese in the country. Further details are on the CAFOD web page here. You can also download and application form here.
Report from CAFOD Volunteer Michael Walsh.