COLUMBIA — Last year two Catholic organizations combined their efforts to reinvent a Catholic tradition. The Legion of Mary and the Knights of Columbus have bolstered support for the Catholic Christian booth at the S.C. State Fair.
The focal point of the booth is an almost life-sized picture of the Divine Mercy.
“Our message is that we do believe in Jesus,” said Sharon Crocker, president of the Columbia-Curia Legion of Mary.
“Catholics say people accuse them of not being Christian,” said Gloria Cazallis, volunteer and Legion member. “We’re trying to show we’re a Christ-centered religion.” She was one of more than 80 people — including priests, nuns and deacons — who helped staff the booth last year.
Crocker said everyone had different methods of reaching out to passersby, but all the volunteers handed out items related to the Catholic faith.
Pamphlets were available on topics including the Eucharist, stem-cell research, the history of the church, same-sex marriage, Mother Teresa, and the rosary. The most popular pamphlet was the “Top 10 Questions That Catholics Are Asked Most.”
Volunteers handed out rosaries and explained that it is a prayer about Jesus’ life. They also provided prayer cards with a photo Pope John Paul II and the Divine Mercy image in the background.
Many people commented on the life-sized Divine Mercy image, and several wanted to know if it was for sale. The remarkable image drew attention from non-Catholics, who were unfamiliar with the Divine Mercy.
Crocker displayed a letter written on the ills of the death penalty and signed by Bishop Robert J. Baker and religious leaders from across the state.
Volunteers also had items for children, including stickers, crosses, pins and Advent calendars.
Several Catholic organizations sent material for the booth. People who stopped by could find information on area Catholic schools, Marriage Encounter, religious orders, vocations, home schooling and the Irish Children’s Fund, among others.
“It’s about our faith, not one particular group,” said Crocker. “Any organization that represents any part of our faith in South Carolina is invited to participate in or have literature at our booth.”
As with any nonprofit endeavor, organizers are seeking volunteers and donations for the booth. Volunteers are needed to work two-hour shifts. The booth is open all day, every day of the fair Oct. 7-17.
Crocker said she wishes that she had regrouped with all the volunteers to share stories after the fair last year.
“There were so many great moments,” she said. “It’s an excellent opportunity.”
Cazallis is looking forward to volunteering at the booth again this year.
“It’s such a privilege to be a part of this,” she said.
For more information:
If you are interested in providing literature, volunteering or donating funds, contact Sharon Crocker by mail at 107 Arbor End Road, Lexington, SC 29072, or by phone at (803) 309-2480.