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Orlando, Fla., Mar 4, 2010 / 03:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, leaders of the U.S. branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion formally requested to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

In a statement released yesterday from a meeting of the House of Bishops in Orlando, the Church announced, “We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the ‘Anglican Use’ Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.”

“At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the statement said.

The decision follows Pope Benedict XVI’s publication of “Anglicanorum coetibus,” which was released last year and addressed measures planned by the Vatican to allow Anglican communities to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

Rev. Fr. David McCready, associate rector at St. John’s Cathedral in the Diocese of the Missouri Valley, offered his opinion to CNA on what will ensue after yesterday’s decision.

The associate rector explained that a long process and several stages are ahead for the Anglican church community. According to Fr. McCready, each diocese will have to meet for an individual synod and eventually come together for a national one. The rector believes that although there could be initial resistance among some within the Anglican community, as “people are often worried of what they don’t know,” eventually, once things are clarified, unification on the move should not be an issue.

 

Traditional Anglican community requests to join Catholic Church :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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The statistics are that there is as much or more abuse amongst Protestant ministers as among Roman Catholic priests.  However, those stories don’t make national news, as most of the priest incidents do.  I (continue to) wonder why. 

Regardless of how they are reported, these are sad stories, like this one in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

BATAVIA TWP. – A former youth minister at a Clermont County church was found shot to death Monday, hours after he pleaded guilty to sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct involving a 15-year-old girl.

Christopher E. Evans, 39, was free on his own recognizance but due back in court Tuesday morning for a new bond hearing because prosecutors had obtained letters he wrote to the victim despite a judge’s order that he have no contact with her.

A sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Slade Road entrance to Harsha Lake at East Fork State Park at 11:15 p.m. Monday discovered a man who apparently killed himself in a truck with a shotgun blast to the face. The truck was registered to Evans, said Lt. Randy McElfresh of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The county coroner’s office confirmed the identity Tuesday after the man’s fingerprints were compared with those on file for Evans, McElfresh said.

The ranger station parking lot in Batavia Township where the body was found is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said John Gillespie, law enforcement manager for East Fork State Park. The area doesn’t usually close at night.

Evans faced up to 50 years in prison at a sentencing scheduled for April before Judge Victor M. Haddad of Common Pleas Court in Batavia. He also faced a fine of up to $100,000.

Evans said little during the Monday hearing at which he pleaded guilty to five counts of each charge. At one point, he bowed his head and wiped tears from his eyes with a handkerchief.

A full-time minister at Saltair Church of Christ on Ohio 222 in Tate Township for more than two years, Evans expressed suicidal thoughts to others after his arrest and had access to weapons, according to court records.

“He is a broken man,” Brother Bob Wickline, senior minister of the church, told The Enquirer after Evans was arrested in December. “He is very, very remorseful.”

Evans faced up to 100 years in prison after being indicted Dec. 16 on 10 counts of each charge. He entered the guilty plea after the prosecution agreed to drop half the charges, which spared the girl from having to testify at a trial.

The judge told Evans on Monday that he would read letters written to the girl by Evans.

“If those letters are real and they say some things that are disturbing to the court, (the prosecutor) may ask me to set a hearing on your bond,” the judge said.
“Here’s what you need to know: You’re going to sink or swim based on what you’ve done and on what you do,” the judge said. “I’m capable of putting you on (probation), and I’m capable of giving you 50 years.”

Evans had been acting as a parent to the girl, the prosecutor told the judge.
She had lived with Evans, his wife and their children on Pitzer Road in Tate Township, Wickline told The Enquirer.

Evans began a sexual relationship with the girl in July. It continued until authorities were notified Dec. 7, Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said.

The nondenominational church was founded in 1948. Its Web site calls it “a down-home country church where folks are still the salt of the Earth.”

The girl was a member of the congregation’s youth group, but there was no indication any abuse took place at the church or during church activities, the sheriff has said.

Evans was youth minister to the congregation of about 400 people from November 2007 until December of last year. He recently moved to the Macon area of Brown County.

Ex-minister facing prison found dead

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy. And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity. 4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. 6 To you only have I sinned, and have done evil before you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged. 7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. 8 For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me. 9 You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 10 To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. 11 Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. 13 Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me. 14 Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. 15 I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you. 16 Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice. 17 O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise. 18 For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted. 19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51

Just a reminder that I reject the dunghill theory of Luther’s.

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Looks to be a fantastic school this year too.  Pray that it will work out and I will get to attend.

Here’s the promo on the Acton Institute‘s webpage:

2010 Acton University – June 15-18, 2010

Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics.

At Acton University, you will:

Build your own curriculum. Choose from more than fifty courses ranging from the theological and philosophical, to the policy-oriented and practical.

Learn from world-class faculty. Meet leading authorities on economics, theology, public policy, globalization, the environment, and other disciplines.

Network. Interact with people from diverse backgrounds who share a concern about issues at the heart of faith and freedom.

Equip yourself to engage in the debate. Better articulate your understanding of the Judeo-Christian view of liberty and morality and its application in a free and virtuous society.

QUESTIONS?
<!– Download a printable pdf fact sheet for the conference here.
–>Contact Kara Eagle at (616)454-3080 or keagle@acton.org

Lecturers will include Rev. Raymond de Souza, Dr. Samuel Gregg, Dr. Daniel Mahoney and Rev. Paul Hartmann. 

Visit the Acton Institute website for more information.

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Oh.My.Goodness.   

File this under Really Ridiculous, Outlandish Nonsense, Outrageousness, Protestants off the Rails, Relativism…and uh, the post in which Luce almost swears.  The Church of England needs to retrain this chap.  From the Daily Mail of UK (with my comments in red):   

A clergyman has been criticised as ‘highly irresponsible’ after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon. (nothing says “Peace on Earth, good will to men” like shoplifting.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!)   

 Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional (wha?  advising Christians to steal isn’t traditional?) annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.   

 ‘It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to ‘prostitution, mugging or burglary’, he said.  (I can hear Satan now:  “Go on.  It’s only a little sin.  There’s much worse you could do….”)
   

 The married father-of-two insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ – because God’s love for the poor outweighs his love for the rich.  (I missed that part of Scripture.  Er..where did Jesus say that?)   

 But the minister’s controversial sermon at St Lawrence Church in York has been slammed by police, the British Retail Consortium and a local MP, who all say that no matter what the circumstances, shoplifting is an offence.  (Apparently–and tellingly– it was not slammed by Rowan or the other disciples of Pope Henry the Eighth.  But perhaps they haven’t heard about it yet.)

Delivering his festive lesson (is this sarcasm?), Father Jones told the congregation: ‘My advice, as a Christian priest, (can his license be revoked?) is to shoplift.  I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or  because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.  (It’s a mortal sin, kids.)   

 ‘I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.   

 ‘I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.   

 ‘I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.’  (Oh, that’s brilliant!  actually encourage sin, theft, moral decay FROM THE PULPIT and then blame the system for creating “invitation” and “incentive”.  I kinda think this is like inciting a crime.  This man should be brought up on charges.)He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary.  (Hey, preacher man!  How’s about you get out of the pulpit and go help some needy?  isn’t that what churches are for?)   

Father Jones cited the example of an ex-prisoner who had been forced to live on less than £100, including a crisis loan, over six weeks after his release from jail.   

He continued: ‘My advice does not contradict the Bible’s eighth commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.  (Sorry, but that’s total Bull$#!+)   

‘Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are.   

‘Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.’   (why is the priest calling on society? isn’t his job to shepherd his flock?  I love liberals who love to preach to Society but then have absolutely no compunction about doing anything personally.)   

I question whether this man has ever read the Bible.  Seriously.  Where in Scripture did Jesus tell the poor to go out and steal theirs?  In what parable, sermon or teaching did Jesus condemn the Roman Empire for their bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay?  And when the poor widow offered her mite, did Jesus nudge her and tell her to swipe a few coins out of the offering, because she clearly needed it more than the Temple did?   

People, SNAP OUT OF IT!  Nowhere does Jesus teach us to look to the government to provide charity toward n poor, support for the elderly, welfare checks for the unemployed, food programs for the underemployed, visitation and care for the sick, imprisoned or dying.  He taught us the Christian virtues, in Matthew especially but throughout the Gospel and He taught them to us as individuals, as believers, as disciples of His.  He didn’t say, go out and convert the governments, empires and dictatorships of the world, and have them enact my teachings as state law.  He didn’t say, go and vote for, prop up, support in coup or give your liege loyalty to governments, kings, rulers and despots who will go out and care for the poor and oppressed in my name.  Nope.  Basically, He said, “YOU!  Yes, I’m looking at you.  Go bear fruit in my name.”  They will know we are Christians by our love…not by our voting records or our taxable income.   

But many (too many) of our fellow Christians think they are called on to do God’s work by pointing fingers at institutions and governments and demanding that they do God’s work.  In other words, there is a mess and SOMEONE really OUGHT to do SOMETHING, and then they proceed to look around for the Someone to Do Something.  Then they wash their hands of the whole thing in smug satisfaction because they successfully passed the buck.   This type of “diffusion of responsibility”, also known as the Bystander Effect is what runs liberal theology ideology.  Because let’s face it:  it’s sooooo much easier to pass the buck along to everyone else, isn’t it?  Why get all messy with your hands in the ol’ muck of good-doing when you can sit at home and yell at the telly, or protest outside government buildings in your warm parkas and Starbucks refillable mugs.   

Kids?  Doing good? — That is OUR JOBAs Christians.  Each of us personally.  What this nitwit Anglican priest should be doing is showing the way to Christian virtue, not relaxing in his no doubt well-appointed parsonage, enjoying his Christmas feast in front of the telly to which he is pointing and yelling at the evening’s BBC news broadcast and yelling, “why isn’t the bloody government DOING something about the poor!”  as he burps and swipes the back of his hand nonchalantly across his mouth.   

Ugh.

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To sum up:  Indian bishop is teaching his priests to be Catholic, and not Evangelical. 

Archdiocese of Mumbai ‘strongly discourages’ sermons that are more than 20 mins and wants them to be relevant

The Catholic church in a recent circular has instructed the clergy to keep their sermons short.

The archdiocese of Mumbai, Bishop Bosco Penha, stated that priests who preach for more than 20 minutes during mass should be “strongly discouraged”.

“The homily is an important part of the liturgy and is always given by an ordained minister.

It should be well-prepared and to the point,” said the missive that contained a host of other instructions for priests on how to enrich the service to draw more Catholics back to the church.

The memo was printed in the recent edition of the Catholic newsletter, The Examiner.

“People would complain matter, which is read out, is forgotten,” said newsletter editor and diocese spokesperson Fr Anthony Charanghat.

The instructions also discourage the use of PowerPoint presentations and skits to liven up the homily.

“The homily is meant to be a one-on-one between the priest and his parish. A PowerPoint presentation can supplement the sermon, but not replace it.

The Pope has strongly encouraged us to use technology to reach out to the masses, but it cannot be the end of all our interaction with the faithful,” said Charanghat.

Not surprisingly, the parishioners we spoke to unanimously thought that this was a good idea.

See full article:  Church gives priests the short shrift.

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What's wrong with this picture of Catholic youth? Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

This post is about our Catholic youth.  It was inspired by reading the great article on “Catholic Subculture” that I will post below.  First, some thoughts from me.  [Warning:  Ranting to begin in 1…

2…

3…]

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt utterly frustrated with my church, our Mother Church, pastors, DREs, leaders, fellow Catholics, church families and parish councils because so many times they simply do not get it.  I have read comments on blogs that I admire (I’m looking at you, New Liturgical Movement) that denigrate the work of youth ministers, and indeed, the whole youth group idea.  To which I reply:  PEOPLE WAKE UP!

There is a culture war going on and if we Catholics don’t engage in it at the most basic level — our kids — then we are going to lose.  We absolutely  have to get in the war, on the frontlines with our children.  Some folks are.  It’s happening in pockets around the country.  Yes, those pockets are getting bigger, but they are still pockets.  My fellow Catholics, we need to evangelize our kids.  They need CATECHISM.  They need EVANGELISM.  They need ENTHUSIASM.  They need a personal relationship with Christ.  They need to feel the Holy Spirit in their lives.  They need to put God first in all things.  And they need LOVE.  But how?  How do we do this?   What aren’t we doing and what are we doing wrong?  And what do you mean, evangelize our kids?  They’ve been baptized and confirmed, good enough, right?  If that is not enough, what should we be doing?

We need to meet our kids where they are. 

Here are the fundamentals, the building blocks if you will.  These are things that should not have to be said, but apparently, have to be said:

*Talk to your kids about God.  Make prayer a priority.  Pray with them every day, throughout the day.  Have your kids ever heard you say, “Praise God!”, or “Thanks be to God!”, “Let’s offer that up to God,” “Turn it over to Jesus,”  “Ask the Blessed Mother for her prayers,” or “I’ll pray for you”?  Have you ever shown your kids how to discern and seek God’s will?  Have you ever told them to take a problem to God in prayer?  Ever asked them or others for their prayers for your needs?  What about the Rosary, is it a part of your daily life?  By praying openly with and in front of your children, you model for them the very foundation of a relationship with God.  Your kids have to learn this from somewhere and most Catholics simply aren’t teaching this.

*The Bible.  Open it up.  Carry it around.  Read it, quote it, tote it, note it.  If you don’t own one, get one.  If you don’t own one that you can mark in, you need one.

*How about Mass?  Are you happy to be going?  Is it a priority?  Do you make it an obligation, or an event?  Do you talk about it before or after?  Do you lift your voice in song, praise and response?  Do you rush in to find whatever seats are left or do you come early enough to pray, reflect on the day’s liturgy of the word, spend time in adoration or contemplation?  Could you leave home 10 minutes earlier to do that?

*What about catechizing your kids?  No, I don’t mean dragging them off to Religious Education for ninety minutes a week.  Parents:  if you think your kids are being catechized in their ninety minutes of class every week, I, as a 5 year veteran of catechism teaching, must sadly inform you–YOUR KIDS ARE NOT BEING CATECHIZED IN NINETY MINUTES A WEEK.   Ouch.  The truth hurts, I know.  It is hard for me as a devoted catechist to write that.  But it is true.  In my classes, I have been so desperate that I have basically opened up the mouths of my middle schoolers and poured the Catechism down their throats but there is only so much they can take in, after a long day of school and homework and extracurricular activities.  In other words, there are limits to the effect your Catechist can have, no matter how faithful, learned, and sincere he or she is. If you are not reviewing, teaching, and catechising at home, then your kids are not catechized.  Period.

Those are the principle building blocks that parents provide for their child’s faith formation.  They are essential.  Do them.

Catholicism is not an adjective, a box on MySpace, the writing on the back of your dog tag, an interesting fact about yourself or an excuse to attend Mardi Gras.  Catholicism is our life, the one in this world to the one beyond.  It’s the universal church that Jesus left for us, the communion of saints. It’s our way to worship the Almighty God, our means of knowing our Lord, Jesus Christ, our conduit through which the Holy Spirit blesses us with sacramental graces.   Switchfoot sings, “This is your life.  Are you who you want to be?”  Well I tell you now:  THIS is your life.  Catholicism. 

Back to our kids.  We need to meet them where they are.  After we have invested (yes, its an investment, the best kind) in teaching the faith through example, through opportunity and through study, next we need to fill them with the Holy Spirit.  And this is where we are dropping the ball.  We need to move them.  We need to appeal to the very emotional states that they are in because if you haven’t realized it, teenagers and young adults are emotional, not altogether rational beings.  That is a scientific fact.  There is nothing wrong with that.  (There are studies on that, which I would go look up right now but I’m on a roll.)

How do we meet them where they are?  How do we appeal to their emotional side so that we can invite the Holy Spirit to work conversions in their hearts?  Simply, we minister to them.  Evangelical Protestants have been doing this since the Jesus Movement.  I am not suggesting that we completely copy the Evangelical movement.  Not at all.  I have some beefs with their approach.  But in my opinion we need to adopt the best of their ministries and bring it into our Catholic culture.   These approaches would be:

  • Vibrant and relevant youth groups
  • Music ministry for kids (no, I am not talking about a separate Mass)
  • Social activities
  • Mission activities
  • Massive youth rallies

Kids need other kids.  They need to fit in.  They want a group that reflects their interests.  Kids are interested in music and I’m sorry New Liturgical Movement, that music is NOT the Gregorian Chant.  (I think it is cool and so would a lot of kids but if that’s all we are offering to teenagers–“hellogoodbye.”)  Kids need to know where they fit into the world.  They need to feel like they are making a difference. 

Here are some Catholic groups that are “getting it”:

If the kids in your parish did not attend NCYC, why not?  do you know?  Does your priest even know that it happened?  what about the DRE?  If not, your parish probably needs a revival.  Perhaps you are the person to do that.  Perhaps I am.  Maybe I’m called.  Maybe you are.  Are we listening?

I promised you the awesome article, didn’t I.  Well, here it is.  This is speaker and author Christopher Stefanick, Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Denver Archdiocese, writing about NCYCPlease read this article!

Catholic subculture

The Gospel isn’t communicated in a vacuum.  It’s communicated through culture.  When a Catholic culture is lacking, the Church organically creates subcultures, drawing in and redeeming aspects of the culture it’s in.  This is happening among our youth today.  Youth ministry has formed a redeemed culture born out of generation MTV with its own stages, its own rock stars and its own brand of rebellion.   

The nation’s largest “concert for Jesus” happened the week before last at the National Catholic Youth Convention (NCYC).  We brought 55 youths from the Archdiocese of Denver and I was privileged to speak there.  I was blown away.  It’s rare to walk into a 20,000-person arena and be unable to find a place to sit.  A few thousand more filled an overflow arena with jumbo screens.  This event, like many of the larger events in Catholic youth ministry, had all the trappings of a high-end, secular, rock and roll production, except the packed arena was there to glorify faith, hope and charity instead of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. 

The stage was filled with Catholic “rock stars.”  Before his keynote telling teens—for the 10,000th time—to wait for sex until they are married, veteran chastity speaker Jason Evert got a standing ovation.  Matt Maher, who is probably the first Catholic to hit the top of the charts on Christian radio stations, had the teens cheering until they were hoarse.  They all knew his songs.  Steve Angrisano, Catholic of the Archdiocese of Denver and a popular speaker and singer/songwriter, hosted the conference.  None of these men could walk 10 feet at that conference without being asked for an autograph.  They are Catholic subculture rock stars, and in a culture so starved for good role models, what a wonderful thing! 
What’s even better is that the ultimate rock star being celebrated is Jesus Christ and the communion of saints.  One speaker held up a rosary and mentioned Mary’s name and it produced a deafening cheer from the crowd.  During one high point of the conference more than 20,000 teens knelt in silent adoration after which they processed behind our eucharistic Lord through the streets of Kansas City, Mo., in silence.  That image is indelibly etched into my memory.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It was a virtual army of youth following their king in the heart of the modern world! 

In MTV culture, rebellion is a virtue.  Teens born out of this Catholic subculture have a beautiful brand of rebellion all their own.  In a sex-saturated world, they wear chastity and the respect they give to the opposite sex like a badge of honor.  According to recent statistics, 95 percent of upperclassmen who are virgins are proud of it!  In a self-serving culture, devout Catholic teens want to stand out by serving the poor.  One teen from our archdiocese, Sami Freese, shared with the entire conference about the joy and freedom she found by sponsoring and then visiting a child she sponsors in the Philippines.  In an irreverent culture, teens want to stand out with ancient practices of piety.  They think it’s cool to bow, kneel, altar serve, burn incense, and sing ancient songs to God with their hands lifted in prayer.  Generation MTV teens want to rebel and make a name for themselves.  What better way to do that than by being holy!  There’s no more profound rebellion than the one given by the saints and martyrs.  

 As I looked at the sea of teens, joyful to be standing for Jesus Christ and celebrating our ancient faith, I wondered, “If our Lord can change the world with 12, what can he do with 22,000”?  Maybe we won’t be a subculture for long. 

20,000 youth following our Lord in procession through the streets of an American city.   If that doesn’t make you stop for a moment….here’s a picture that WILL make you stop:

22,000 Catholic kids in the NCYC Eucharistic Procession through downtown Kansas City

NCYC is an example of meeting kids where they are.  Evangelizing to our youth.  It can’t only happen one week a year.  We need to immerse our kids in the Catholic Subculture that Christopher talks about.  In our parishes, in our dioceses, we need to CREATE a Catholic Subculture.  It’s a mission, it’s an apostolate, it’s a calling.  It’s one heck of a great opportunity.  I hear Jesus calling.

Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.Mark 10:49

For more on NCYC:

Roman Catholic Cop

Catholic Youth Ministry Blog

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton Youth

My Catholic Voice

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