Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Digital Vocations Supplement

Special section goes to B.C. Catholic Website

This week's issue of The B.C. Catholic featured a special vocations supplement, Amazing Roads: Following God's Path, which has been posted to its website. 

Amazing Roads includes stories about solemn professions at Westminster Abbey, a nurse inspired to become a nun, clergy anniversaries, and more.

Father Joesph Nguyen of the Archdiocese of Vancouver's Vocations Office opens the supplement explaining that family is the first part of a future priest, sister, or brother's formation.

The full supplement is available for download as a PDF file.

Priesthood renewed

Catholic seminary enrolment up, but numbers seen as only part of story
In his first months as rector of Theological College in Washington, Father Phillip J. Brown has been confronting a problem that the national diocesan seminary for the U.S. Catholic Church "has not had for a long time": it is bursting at the seams.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can you Handel this?

The Messiah is coming to Vancouver

The Archdiocese of Vancouver invites everyone to its co-sponsoring of the Vancouver Chamber Choir's performance of Handel's Messiah at the Orpheum Theatre Dec. 10.

The Messiah, written by the Baroque composer in 1741, is one of his most popular works of choral music. Its movements cover the prophecy of salvation, Christ's sacrifice, and the promise of resurrection from the dead.

The archdiocese is selling half of the 2,800 tickets for that night. Tickets are available for $42 or $30.75 at parish and Catholic school offices and online.

Because the tickets will be available through parishes, parishioners will save on taxes and Ticketmaster service charges.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Good News

Evelyn Florendo sprouts more angel wings!
Evelyn Florendo

Since 1984, Holy Name of Jesus parishioner Evelyn Florendo has thrown a Christmas party for youth in prison.

This year, on Dec. 13, the four-foot-eleven Holy Name of Jesus parishioner will welcome Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, and former B.C. premiers Bill Vander Zalm, Glen Clark and their wives to the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre for a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, including presents for each boy and girl.

Florendo, who was widowed many years ago and raised four children while working a full time job, and her dedicated band of volunteers work for months ahead of time to make sure the young offenders aged 12 to 17 know that someone cares about them at Christmas.

"I am so grateful to all those who donate to this Christmas celebration," said Florendo. "Many of these kids are victims of broken homes, alcoholic parents, and abuse. Some have no one to visit them, either at Christmas, or at any other time of the year."

To donate to this worthy cause, call 604-327-2113.

Catholic schools knocked out

Football provincials go public

The St. Thomas More Knights and Vancouver College Fighting Irish both lost their high school provincial football semi-final games, making next week's final Catholic-free.

Both games took place on Saturday at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium.

Mt. Douglas Rams demolished the previously undefeated Knights 54-7, advancing the team to its first ever Subway Bowl Triple A final.

“That was the best football Mt. Douglas has ever played, in the history of Mt. Douglas football,” said Rams head coach Mark Townsend. “I would not have guessed that the score was going to be anything close to what it was. The theme of our week was ‘Whatever It Takes’ and we couldn’t have played a better game on on offence, defence or special teams.”

The W.J. Mouat Hawks had a more difficult time against the Fighting Irish, winning by a razor-thin 14-13 margin.

It was a tough defensive struggle but the No. 2-ranked Hawks edged out the No. 3-ranked Irish at Thunderbird Stadium. A missed extra-point convert by the Irish's Justin Sanvido with 5: 36 left in the fourth quarter turned out to be the difference, as the Hawks' defence managed to make one more stop late in the game to secure the win.

Pope on climate change

Pope urges international agreement on climate change
Smoke rises from a chemical company's stacks in Hamilton, Ont. Climate change as an issue holds appeal for Catholics in the U.S. and abroad, and the Church's social teaching backs up advocacy on it.
Pope Benedict XVI urged international leaders to reach a credible agreement on climate change, keeping in mind the needs of the poor and of future generations.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vocations adoration schedule

The Archdiocese of Vancouver's Vocations office has announced its schedule for the adoration of Vocations throughout the archdiocese.

November 2011
Canadian Martyrs 8-9
St. James 10-11
St. Nicholas 22-23
St. Clare of Assisi 24-25

December 2011
Holy Rosary Cathedral 1-3
St. Mary's, Vancouver 7-8
Blessed Sacrament 9-10
Sacred Heart, Delta 13-15

January 2012
St. Monica's, Richmond 4-5
Holy Family, Vancouver 6-7
Our Lady of Fatima, Van. 10-12
St. Patrick's Vancouver 13-14
Holy Name, Vancouver 17-18
Corpus Christi, Van 19-20
St. Paul's, Vancouver 24-25
Immaculate Concep., Van 26-27
Immaculate Heart of Mary 28

A Holy wager

Grey Cup Archbishops make act of faith in their team 

Today the Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Archdiocese of Winnipeg made Sunday's Grey Cup game a little more interesting by announcing a friendly wager on its outcome.

If the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win, Archbishop Miller will make a $100 donation to the Archdiocese of Winnipeg’s Archdiocesan Appeal, which is the major vehicle for funding pastoral work in the Archdiocese.
If the B.C. Lions win, Archbishop Weisgerber will make a $100 donation to Project Advance, the annual diocesan-wide appeal that helps fund many of the institutions, programs, ministries, and needs within the archdiocese.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB initiated the bet and suggested a Winnipeg victory was an “unlikely event.” 
Winnipeg's Archbishop James Weisgerber quickly responded that  he had “no doubt about the outcome of the game. "Winnipeg will prevail because a good defence always trumps a so-so offence.”
In a joint statement, the archbishops said, “Sporting events such as this one can provide an opportunity to celebrate the best in healthy competition, bringing people together in community and recreation, fostering respect for rules, and imparting important human and spiritual values such as excellence, fitness, and loyalty.”
The archbishops hope the friendly bet will draw attention to the vital work and mission of the Church in Vancouver and Winnipeg.
“Our archdioceses are close in solidarity and service to those most in need in our two cities," the archbishops said. "We invite all who are celebrating the Grey Cup to also join us in our service to the needy by contributing in some way to our charitable work.”

In more archdiocesan football news, vocations director Father Joseph Nguyen made a video with his Grey Cup predictions.

Even the Pope gets to Mexico

In Mexico, Pope to address issue of violence, Vatican official says

A young man places a a note with a message on a cross as a young girl prays during a Mass in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb. 14. Catholic students and teachers gathered to pray for a group of teenagers who had been killed by gunmen at a high school party in January.

Mexico's high level of violence is of deep concern and will surely be addressed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the country next year, said a Vatican official.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Archdiocese thrown in the Lions' den

Grey Cup Fest grows around pastoral centre

As the Grey Cup Festival slowly engulfs the John Paul II Pastoral Centre at 150 Robson, the Archdiocese of Vancouver is embracing the mayhem and getting behind the B.C. Lions.

The area around B.C. Place, which includes the pastoral centre, is currently shut down for traffic to set up the festival around the Lions' Sunday match against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Lions are hoping to snag their first Grey Cup since 2006.

Telus Streetfest is set up around the pastoral centre and will feature free live music throughout the weekend.

To jump on board the excitement, Communications director Paul Schratz commissioned Faye McCreedy from OYYAM to bring the original Hail Mary to the Lions.

"Paul asked me and I was totally all over it, because I'm a huge Lions fan," Faye says. "It's exciting with all that stuff going on and we're seeing it right outside our window."

The whole weekend should be a riot, but not that kind of riot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St. Paul aims to brighten your night

Lights of Hope will come out tomorrow

Tomorrow night, St. Paul's Hospital will continue the annual tradition of turning on the Lights of Hope display at their location on Burrard Street.

Everyone is invited to this year's lighting ceremony beginning at 6:40, which will also include fireworks.

Volunteers built the display using donated materials (including 10 km of lights) and it will be lit every evening until January 9, 2012.

For the past 14 years, the Lights of Hope campaign has lit the exterior of the hospital with a stunning display to inspire community support for care, research, and teaching at St. Paul's.

This year, the campaign hopes to raise $1.9 million for equipment, research, and enhanced patient care at St. Paul’s. Donations can be made by calling 604-662-HOPE or visiting

Salt and Light wins Pro-Life Award

Right to Life Toronto honours Catholic Network
Salt and Light CEO Father Rosica

Salt and Light TV received the "Pro Life in Media Award" from the Toronto Right to Life Association Nov. 17.

CEO Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, accepted the award on behalf of his network at the association's annual general meeting and 40th anniversary celebration at the North York Central Library auditorium.

"I have always had a great respect and admiration for the vision, mission and important work of the Right to Life Association of Toronto," he said during his acceptance speech.

Father Rosica went on to commend everyone who fights for life, but warned of tough days ahead.

"I believe that all who work for the cause of life, especially through your association, are entering into a new era of testing and of grace, of purification of motives and methods and formation for mission," he said. "This will require new strategies, new vision, renewed courage, boundless patience, great mercy, and deep faith in God as we continue to choose life and uphold the dignity and sacredness of every human life, from conception to natural death."

Pope greets Africans with AIDS

In Africa, Pope asks Church to be model of reconciliation

Pope Benedict XVI arrives to celebrate Mass at the stadium in Cotonou, Benin, Nov. 20.

On a three-day visit to Benin, Pope Benedict XVI urged African Catholics to witness the hope of the Gospel in their daily lives and make the Church a model of reconciliation for the entire continent.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Materialism a threat to wedded bliss

Materialism negatively affects happiness of married couples.

It's great to share values, says a team from Brigham Young University in Utah reporting in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, a trade paper for family and marital counsellors.

But, it's not so good when foremost among the values you have in common with your spouse is upward financial mobility.

After interviewing nearly 2,000 couples, researchers found that spouses who share the same materialistic values have a tougher time being happy in their marriage.

Materialism, the study revealed, has a negative association with marital quality whether a couple is rich, middle class, or at the lower end of the financial spectrum.

Focussing on money problems, the researchers also found, also adversely affects communication and ways of solving conflicts in other areas.

Two Catholic schools advance to semi finals

Knights and Fighting Irish one step from football finals
Matt Carney and the STM Knights are The
Vancouver Province's #1 ranked team.

After bitterly fought quarter final battles, the St. Thomare More Knights and Vancouver College Fighting Irish have advanced to opposite ends of the Senior Varsity provincial football playoffs.

The Vancouver Province's top two ranked teams will now face off against Mt. Douglas Rams (Knights) and either the W.J. Mouat Hawks or Kelowna Owls (Irish).

The Knights defeated the Centennial Centaurs 35-32 on Nov. 18 after trailing 32-21 in the final five minutes of play.

The Irish had an easier time beating the Notre Dame Jugglers 35-14, improving on their previous match at the Archbishops' Trophy Matchup.

Nov. 26 – St. Thomas More vs Mt. Douglas – 5 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium (UBC)

Nov. 26 – Van. College vs Mouat/Kelowna – 7:30 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium (UBC)

Combatting erosion, spiritual and ethical

In Benin, Pope urges Africa to uphold values of family, human dignity
Pope Benedict XVI prays inside the cathedral in Cotonou, Benin, Nov. 18. The Pope was in the West African nation to present the conclusions of the 2009 Synod of Bishops for Africa. It was his second trip to Africa as Pope.
 Arriving in Benin for a three-day visit, Pope Benedict XVI urged the African continent to protect its ancient values in the face of spiritual and ethical erosion.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jugglers take another stab at the Irish

Three Catholic schools remain in AAA football playoffs
The Fighting Irish and Jugglers in the 2011
Archbishops' Trophy match Nov. 4

The race for the Subway Bowl has reached the quarter finals and three local Catholic schools are still in the running.

Tonight, the St. Thomas More Knights, ranked 5th in the Canada, face off against Coquitlam’s Centennial Centaurs.

Tomorrow, the Archbishops' Trophy champions Vancouver College Fighting Irish, ranked 13th in the nation, have a rematch against the Notre Dame Jugglers.

“In life you don’t often get a second chance at things, but we do,” Jugglers’ first-year head coach Richard Scott said of the rematch.

“The first time we played them, we had a chance at five big plays and we didn’t make the plays,” Scott told The Province's Howard Tsumura. “And you have to make big plays in big games. Our kids watched that (Vancouver College) film a million times and know the mistakes they made. They know the personnel they are going up against, and if they make the same mistakes, they are going to get the same result.”

At least one Catholic school is guaranteed to advance to the semi finals Nov. 26. The championship game takes place Dec. 3 at BC Place.

Will the Fighting Irish successfully defend their championship or will the Knights or Jugglers take home the trophy?

Nov. 18 – St. Thomas More vs Centennial – 8 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium (UBC)

Nov. 19 – Van. College vs Notre Dame – Noon at Thunderbird Stadium (UBC)

Cardinal NOT blindsided

Vatican financial document took complex route to delivery

Clouds tinged with orange and red hues float above St. Peter's Basilica during sunset in Rome Oct. 20. The route that official documents take through Vatican hallways is far from uniform, writes John Thavis.

The unusual and somewhat mysterious gestation process of Vatican documents came into the spotlight recently, thanks to a controversial white paper on economic justice.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spirituality of the Boss

Priest looks at faith through Bruce Springsteen songs

New Jersey priest Father Kevin J. Keelen taught a workshop entitled “Spirituality of Bruce Springsteen” Oct. 18. More than 150 people attended, including Adele Springsteen, the Boss' mother.

Father Keelen, an Augustinian friar, cited the lyrics from “Hungry Heart” as he quoted from his saintly mentor, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, God.”

“Every indigenous tribe has music. It’s part of being human,” he said. “Tonight’s about Bruce and us. He evangelizes in a different way.” 

When talking about the Ellis Island Award-winning singer/songwriter, Father Keelen wove a picture of a deeply spiritual musician whose faith is reflected in his deep catalogue of music. 

The father talked about listening to Springsteen perform “Land of Hope and Dreams,” at Giants Stadium with imagery of a train barreling down the tracks carrying sinners, gamblers, the broken-hearted, thieves, and sweet souls departed and feeling the energy of the crowd. 

“This train: all aboard!” Father Keelan exclaimed as he quoted the refrain. “That’s the image of salvation, that’s Gospel. It’s incredible poetry and melodic music. That’s what takes it to another place.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burnaby candidate files human rights complaint

Charter Lau wants to stop the bullying

Burnaby Parents' Voice school board candidate Charter Lau and three supporters filed a Human Rights Complaint today in Vancouver to stop what they say is hate and bullying directed at the Burnaby's Asian communities since April.

"We need to protect all children and families from bullying and hate speech," Lau said. "As we have not seen any actions from the current Trustees to stop the hate speech, we are being proactive. 

Lau said attacks came against groups who protested the school district's anti-homophobia policy back in May.

"I need to remind everyone that a lot of hate speech and bullying has occurred because the current Burnaby Trustees did not follow BC's provincial standards for Codes of Conduct," he said. "They did not properly consult students, parents and staff in the development and review of codes of conduct, as required. As a result, parents, students and staff had to risk their safety by publicly asking questions, and are now living in fear."

Part of Parents' Voice's platform is to reassess the district's policies on bullying.

Jeneece Edroff is Changing Our World!

Young philanthropist honoured

Jeneece Edroff lights the Olympic torch in 2010

A Victoria teenager diagnosed at three with the debilitating genetic disease neurofibromatosis type 1 has been honoured with the 2012 Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy.

The award recognizes extraordinary service to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering and leadership in philanthropy.

Edroff will received the award next March at an International Fundraising Conference of Fundraising in Vancouver.

Her career in fundraising began when she was seven and launched a penny drive  to support Variety, the children's charity which paid for much of her medical treatment.

Edroff is currently working with others to raise $5.5 million to build Jeneece Place, a home away from home similar to Canucks Plance which helps families whose children are undergoing medical treatment in Victoria.

Edroff's efforts, say Victoria media personality Bruce Williams, were the main reason that 95 per cent of the funds for Jeneece Place were raised in less than 14 months!
British court: Church can be held liable for crimes of clergy

People pray near the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux inside St. John's Cathedral in Portsmouth, southern England, in 2009. The relics of the 19th-century Carmelite saint were being taken to different churches around England and Wales. Portsmouth's bishop says he doubts a claim against one of his priests, who is now deceased so unable to answer the charges.

A British court has ruled that the Catholic Church can be held legally liable for the crimes of abusive clergy, but an English bishop said his diocese does not believe the woman on whose testimony the case is based.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bishop's attacker to be released

John Bandura to leave psychiatric hospital

Now fully recovered, Bishop Monroe hopes to meet his
attacker John Bandura some day.
The Man who attacked Bishop David Monroe of Kamloops will be released from a psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam under strict conditions next Tuesday, according to The Vancouver Sun.

Because of mental health issues, John Bandura, 31, was found not criminally responsible for the October 2010 assault. The provincial court judge ruled that Bandura was unable to know his actions were legally or morally wrong.

Conditions of his release will require him to live in an approved place, attend treatment as directed, possess no weapons, and consume no alcohol or drugs.

In a recent interview with The B.C. Catholic, Bishop Monroe says he accepts Bandura's apology and looks forward to meeting him some day.

Civil conflict rears its ugly head

Pope condemns violence in Nigeria, prays for victims

Nigerian police patrol as people attend prayers during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in the capital, Abuja, Nov. 6. Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an end to violence in Nigeria and prayed for victims of the most recent wave of civil conflict there that left more than 100 people dead after attacks in the northeastern states of Yobe and Borno.

Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an end to violence in Nigeria and prayed for victims of the most recent wave of civil conflict there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Laughter - the best spiritual medicine?

Jesuit urges Catholics to find humour and joy in the spiritual life

When Saint Thomas More was about to place his head on the block before the executioner raised his sword, he lifted his grey beard which had grown to a great length over many months in prison, and placed it forward, remarking that the beard had done nothing wrong so it didn't deserve to be chopped in half.

Father James Martin
Talk about gallows humour!

Now comes Jesuit priest Father James Martin's "Between heaven and Mirth - Why Joy, Humour and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life" available at

Father Martin says that a healthy spirituality and a healthy sense of humour go hand-in-hand with God's great plan for humankind.

He also gives examples of purposeful levity in stories of biblical heroes and heroines, and in the lives of the saints and world's great spiritual masters and invites readers to rediscover the importance of humour and laughter in our daily lives and to embrace an essential truth: faith leads to joy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Looking at the dark side

Seven billion and counting

Newborn baby Juwanda sleeps after being taken to a nursery at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Oct. 31. The United Nations set that day as the date the planet's population reached 7 billion.

"When people look at this 7 billion baby thing, they're looking at the dark side of it rather than the possibilities side of it. It's not something to be frowned on and discouraged," said Jesuit Father Richard Ryscavage, director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield University in Connecticut, who recently took some students to the United Nations.
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Friday, November 4, 2011

From Russia to the Vatican

Mission to the Vatican: diplomats find unique challenges at Holy See

Anne Leahy, Canada's ambassador to the Vatican, talks about her work during a discussion at the Caravita oratory in Rome Nov. 2. The Holy See has full diplomatic relations with 179 countries. The ambassadors of 80 of the nations live in Rome.

Ambassadors to the Holy See resident in Rome are a relatively small group of women and men with backgrounds ranging from professional diplomacy and politics to medicine and even theology: Catholic, Orthodox, or Islamic.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Legal Euthanasia a recipe for disaster, says EPC

Group says BCCLA's lawsuit could lead to elder abuse

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - BC has released a statement on their website discussing how legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia is a recipe for elder abuse and threatens individual rights.

This is in anticipation of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association's lawsuit to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, in which the EPC-BC has been granted intervenor status. The case goes to court Nov. 14.

Besides the specifics of the BCCLA Case, the article discusses issues such as how legal assisted suicide encourages people to throw their lives away, can cause a "suicide contagion," and protects doctors and heirs.

For more information on the case, contact Will Johnston, a family doctor and chair of the EPC-BC.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bishop Monroe remembers

Kamloop bishop interviewed by CKNW

CKNW's Marcella Bernardo recently interviewed Kamloops' Bishop David Monroe, who discussed his faith in the light of his assault last year and and his road to recovery.

The bishop was violently assaulted Oct. 22 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kamloops. He says he feels no ill will towards John Bandura, who was found not criminally responsible for the attack because of a mental disorder.

“He has apologized and I feel comfortable with him," Bishop Monroe says. "Of course I pray for him and look forward to meeting him one day.”

Watch for a story on Bishop Monroe in the next issue of The B.C. Catholic.

106 in a week

Colorado nun dies six days shy of 106th birthday
Sister Richardis Durant died Oct. 20 at Mount St. Francis in Colorado Springs, Colo., the motherhouse of the Western province of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Sister Durant, who entered the convent in the era of World War I and Prohibition, died just six days shy of her 106th birthday. She is pictured in a 2005 photo.
A religious sister who entered the convent in the era of World War I and Prohibition died just six days shy of her 106th birthday.
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Double celebrations for Teresian Carmelites

Trilingual Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows for Teresian Carmelites

The Solemn Closing of a Jubilee Year will be observed by Teresian Carmelite Missionaries at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 555 S. Slocan Street, in Vancouver on Nov. 7 when Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, celebrates a 7 p.m. Mass in English, Spanish, and Italian.

Blessed Francisco Palau
The sisters are also marking the 200th year of the birth of Spanish-born Blessed Francisco Palau and the 150th anniversary of his founding of the Carmelite order in 1860.

Blessed Palau founded the School of Virtue, one of the largest endeavors in catechesis for adults in the 19th century, and he worked actively in the ministry of exorcism.

His devotion to the sick and dying was legendary - spurred on by his own escape from death at the age of 20 when his monastery was burned down.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World Day of Prayer Franciscan challenge

Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement sponsor World Day of Peace panel

Father Elias Mallon, SA
It's not enough to talk about peace - each person has a duty to be a peacemaker, say members of the Franciscan Society of the Atonement who marked the World Day of Prayer for Peace at Graymoor in Garrison, New York.

The Franciscan friars and sisters, who moved from the Anglican Church to the Catholic Church as a body a hundred years ago, continue to call for peace between members of different religions as well as different Christian denominations.

"There can be no peace in the world without peace between religions," said Atonement Father Elias Mallon at an interfaith Spirit of Assisi gathering at Graymoor on Oct. 27.

Atonement sisters, brothers and priests have been active for many years in the Vancouver Archdiocese at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Richmond, and at St. Paul's Church  downtown. While the sisters recently relinquished their food and clothing outreach in Vancouver, and the friars no longer pastor St. Paul's, the order continues to serve in Richmond.

The Atonement Society founded the ecumenical Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, also known as the Unity Octave, which takes place annually just after the beginning of each New Year.

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