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Who’s got the button? About 250,000 World Youth Day participants
by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register
(From the June 13, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)
When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”
You might say the same philosophy is behind a quarter of a million buttons that will be arriving in Spokane in the next couple of weeks.
The buttons are the brainchild of Sister Patricia Proctor of the Poor Clare monastery in north Spokane. She said she had been considering the advantages of the upcoming World Youth Day celebrations in Toronto this summer – so many dedicated young people, all in one place. A perfect opportunity to promote vocations – you might say, they’ll be where the money is.
She gives a lot of the credit to the Blessed Mother. But whoever came up with the idea, the result will be a remarkable public relations effort on behalf of vocations during World Youth Day.
She conferred with a local advertising executive, Ed Bruneau of Spokane’s Creative Consultants, who came up with the idea of a button to distribute. Button trading is part of the international culture of World Youth Day – young people from around the world trading buttons with others.
Bruneau designed the buttons – the main letters in red, the web address in white, on a black background. They measure about an inch-and-a-half across.
Her button will advertise her e-mail card site, catholic-cards.com.
Soon her site will feature not just free electronic greeting cards, but will also feature rotating advertisements for various religious communities and vocations offices. Other ministerial possibilities will be offered as well – “Paul Mach (the Youth Ministry consultant for the Spokane Diocese) said there’s a real need for youth ministers,” Sister Patricia said.
When all is said and done, a quarter million of these buttons will, she hope, be spread across North America and, eventually, the world.
Sister Patricia is asking that people going to World Youth Day enter her card site and, if they’re able, volunteer through the site to distribute buttons – however many they can handle.
“My best so far is a 79-year-old gentleman in Ontario who’s asked for 10,000,” she said. “He’s contacted several churches already. And I know he’ll do it, too.”
Of her strategy, she said, “Lots of people will have brochures and holy cards at World Youth Day. Buttons are a lot more fun.”
The buttons are scheduled to arrive in two shipments, of 80,000 and then the remaining 170,000. Those will arrive at the monastery in boxes of 5,000, which will in turn need to be broken down into bags of 100, probably using digital scales to weigh, rather than counting individual buttons.
In just the few weeks since she announced her campaign, she’s received commitments to distribute 70,000. (“That’s pretty good,” she said, optimistically.) She’s hoping that more parishes in the city of Spokane itself will join the distribution effort. “At first, I was just going to use them for World Youth Day. Now, they’ll be distributed everywhere, anytime.”
Where the vocations are.
(To learn more about the button campaign, log on to Sister Patricia's card site.
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