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How the Church is coping with the rise in the price of candles in the Lot

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The sanctuary of Rocamadour and the parishes of the department are facing an unprecedented increase in the price of paraffin that can reach up to 50%. In Rocamadour, the director is counting on tourists this summer to cushion the price of candles. In other parishes like Limogne, candle lights will cost more.

Charity has a price. And in recent months, with the increase in the cost of paraffin and therefore candles and candles, it costs much more. Not enough to shake the faith of the diocese of Cahors. But all the same: “Since last autumn we are already at more than 50% increase”, notes Father Franz de Boer at the parish of Limogne which has 17 points of sale. It manages the church of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, the second tourist site in the Lot after Rocamadour. The priest does the math: “Before the Covid, we had launched an ecological approach at the request of the Vatican, so we had invested in recyclable tea lights which cost 18% more. 32%. Then, in the spring, following the war in Ukraine, the increase reached another 16% more”. Result: he now pays 1.80 euro for a candle instead of one euro. Last year, he ordered tea lights for 10,000 euros. This year, he will now pay 15,000 euros. No choice, if the parish wants to recover its costs, it will be forced to increase prices.

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“Before, we had a margin rate of 100%, this year, we will have to offer more expensive candles for sale, while remaining fraternal because we are well aware that the portfolio of the faithful is not increasing”, slips the father. The sale of candles is the main source of income for the parish. “The quest would not be enough to balance the budgets,” he notes.

Semi-trailers from Poland

The parish works hand in hand with the Desfossés company near Nantes. No question of turning to a candlemaker abroad, to reduce costs: “Of course, to pay less, there is a solution: order 10 pallets on websites at €0.30 per candle and have them imported in semi-trailers from Poland, but in the region, we have forbidden this practice”. The parish of Limogne will continue to buy French, at all costs. “The cigereries do their utmost to cushion the price, they keep a commercial intelligence and then, we also have a social responsibility, like the others, to preserve employment in France”, adds Father Franz de Boer.

In Rocamadour, as the start of the summer season begins, the price of candles has also not been affected by the grace of God. “I have just consulted my latest regulations and I was not aware of the increase”, reacts Pierre-Henri de la Fage, the director of the Rocamadour sanctuary. On his latest bill, the price has gone up 23%. And with about 2 million visitors each year, the sanctuary must have a sufficient volume of tea lights. Especially since according to the director, “devotion remains very strong”. He assures her that, despite the increase in the purchase price, the sale price of the candle will not change for the faithful. “We decided to take the incidence at our expense”, slips Pierre-Henri de la Fage. So, to face the increase, the sanctuary will set up, from the beginning of July, terminals with contactless payment and electronic payment terminals to put the odds on their side. ” VSThe terminals are essential to have an operating budget and to be able to develop projects in parallel”, he breathes.

The director also has another strategy: he is betting on tourists this summer to cushion the price of candles. “Increase the volume of candle orders to then increase profits, moreover, we made the same turnover last year as before the Covid and we hope that thanks to tourists it will be even higher this year “, he confides. Will his prayer be heard?

The sanctuary is recruiting

“We are looking, for a job start at the start of the school year, of a communication officer for two halves, between Rocamadour and Lacapelle-Marival”, explains Pierre-Henri de la Fage , the director of the sanctuary. “I have already recruited a salesperson”, specifies the one who had to replace three employees out of the six. “These recruitments are the condition for continuing to carry out our projects, in particular the restoration of the Château de Rocamadour, the pilgrimage, the Escape game, etc.”, he adds. Information at [email protected]


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