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Bishop Henry J. Mansell of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese will be celebrant of the annual Labor Day Mass at 9 a.m. Monday in St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 450 Abbott Road.

The Mass, sponsored by the diocesan St. Joseph Guild, will begin with the blessing of tools in the parish's outdoor shrine of St. Joseph the Worker and a procession into the church. It will be followed by the dedication of the newly renovated parish auditorium and a reception.

Bishop Mansell also will use the occasion to announce diocesan participation in a campaign by the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition against child labor and unfair work practices.

The coalition, which includes New York's Catholic bishops, is urging consumers who purchase such clothing items as school uniforms, jackets and sweat shirts to be aware of how and where they are manufactured. The campaign applies to both private and public elementary and high schools as well as colleges and universities.

Bishop Mansell noted that the coalition's "Uniting Conscience and Community: A Campaign for Sweat-free Schools in New York State by 2001" is aimed at ensuring that apparel purchased, licensed or required by schools be made by responsible employers and not in sweatshop conditions.

Schools will be asked to deal only with vendors who comply with terms and conditions of a "Code of Conduct for the Manufacture of Apparel," and students will be educated about their responsibility to the Catholic Church's call for social justice.

The code of conduct is a document created with the help of human rights organizations, people of faith, academics and unions familiar with the issues.

Ronald G. Lechner, president of the St. Joseph Guild, said the Labor Day Mass is endorsed by the Buffalo AFL-CIO Council, the Buffalo Building Trades and other labor bodies. Union members who intend to take tools to be blessed should call 998-4555.

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