Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
November 16, 2009
Sacred Heart eagle soars on online sales
Inner city church taps into computer shopping to help fund its programs
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples has always been known for its unique approach to worship.
The parish incorporates rituals one would not find in most Catholic churches. For instance, the parishioners, mostly First Nations and Métis, pray using symbols and music that are meaningful to their people and culture. Their liturgy integrates sweetgrass, sage, cedar, tobacco, fungus and drums that speak deeply to them.
About a year ago the parish set up an online store, through the American-based Café Press, to sell items to support its programs.
"They have all these articles that you can designate with our logo on it. You can order directly, and you can order one piece or you can order 10 or whatever, and it will be shipped to you within two weeks," said Father Jim Holland.
"They give us a percentage of the sales. It's a little bit of moneymaking for us, not much. We haven't had a lot of response to it, but we haven't really publicized it that much either."
Clothing available at the online store (www.sacredpeoples.com) includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, sleeveless shirts, tank tops, tracksuits, hoodies, baseball jerseys, infant bodysuits, bibs, caps and boxer shorts.
As well, people can order mugs, tote bags, Teddy bears, licence plate frames, ornaments, greeting cards, stickers, quite a variety of home and office supplies, and other miscellaneous items.
Holland said that the T-shirts have been the most popular selling items. Depending on the style, the shirts range in price from $17 to $34.
All of the goods include the parish's official symbol, the Circle of Love.
CIRCLE OF LOVE
The large outer circle that encompasses the logo has two meanings. It is a sign of the Creator, and is also a sign that everyone is welcome to the parish in this circle of love and family. All of the colours have important symbolic meanings (pink for Métis, blue for healing, red for the sign of Jesus' love for us, etc.). The cross symbolizes Jesus, present in all.
The eagle on the symbol has spiritual significance. Its eyes and face express the fortitude needed by native peoples to express firmness in spirit to achieve their goals of self-expression in faith. The eagle's bright eyes express clarity and vision of things to come in the Church.
This isn't the first time the parish has sold items to help offset the costs of its programs, such as traditional native wakes, a children's Christmas party and social functions.
"We used to have a bunch of T-shirts and cups made up just as a fundraiser, but you have to order so many, and you don't always get the right sizes, so it was a hassle. This really takes away the hassle for those who want it," said Holland.
This time, Holland ordered shirts online to test the system, and he said there were no glitches and he received his order promptly.
In 1993, Archbishop Joseph MacNeil designated Sacred Heart Parish as "the official parish for the Catholic First Nations Peoples of Edmonton and surrounding communities."
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