Continuing a Labour Day Tradition

Jamie Heap
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St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Hall Holds Yard Sale, Roast Beef Supper; CWL to celebrate 60th Anniversary later on this month

Volunteers Susan Murphy and her daughter April Murphy sold a variety of goods ranging from adult and baby clothing to romance novels this past weekend at the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Parish Hall Yard Sale in Joggins that raised money for the church of the same name.

JOGGINS-While Labour Day in Joggins today may pale in comparison to the Labour Day picnics that were once held, the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Parish Hall does its best to continue the tradition started by Father Curry.

Father Joseph Donald Curry (1865-1959), a native of Windsor, Nova Scotia who first came to Joggins in 1893, was the founder of the Labour Day Picnic in Joggins.

 Monsignor Curry, a distinguished teacher and orator who was called to speak at solemn functions at Halifax and elsewhere, was renowned for the quality of his sermons and writings. Curry also played an integral role in the establishment of the St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in River Hebert on March 29, 1936.

“Today, Labour Day in Joggins is about raising funds for the church to pay for insurance and oil expenses arising throughout the year,” stated Vickie Wood. “The Labour Day Picnic dates back to at least the 1930s,” she claimed. “I’ve been around since 1942, and it’s been around since then,” stated Richard Belliveau who, along with Collette Cormier, spent five-and-a-half hours decorating the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Parish Hall for Sunday evening’s Roast Beef Supper this past Friday afternoon. “We have the Parish Hall set for 94 people.”

“We had 25 people volunteer this weekend,” stated Wood. “People worked in shifts Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon to prepare the meal.”

As for the yard sale, all that was generally required was a donation to benefit the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church. In addition to baked goods and ticket tables, yard sale goers enjoyed a wide variety of items, including books, crafts, ceramics, glassware, small household appliances, cup towels, clothing, blankets, purses, travel mugs, religious artifacts and Halloween decorations.

“I think there are so many different things for people to buy here this year because of the economy,” stated Dean Wood, who has volunteered in the canteen the past five or six years at this event. “Money doesn’t go as far as it used to, so people are always looking for bargains,” he added. Between 75-100 people frequented the weekend yard sale at the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Hall that ran from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm on Saturday and again on Sunday from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm.

The continuation of the annual Labour Day tradition in Joggins is not the only significant event taking place this month. On Thursday, September 26, the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Catholic Women’s League (CWL) will be celebrating its 60th anniversary. Ironically, when this CWL was formed in 1953, there were 60 founding members, only one of whom (Elsie Como) is still living.

Today, there are only 18 members of the aforementioned CWL. While the CWL’s 60th anniversary Mass will be open to the public, the reception will be private.


Organizations: Roman Catholic Church

Geographic location: JOGGINS, Windsor, Nova Scotia Halifax St. Thomas St. Paul River Hebert Catholic Women

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