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This Sunday’s Readings

This weeks readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which uses the New American Bible.

Click here for THIS SUNDAY’s  readings

Click Here to Listen to THIS SUNDAY’s readings

 

The Word on Fire

The Word On Fire – Fr. Robert Barron’s internet site offers many interesting insights into all things Catholic. Fr. Barron has a full library of homilies that he has prepared and we will be featuring a link here to his 15 minute reflections on this week’s readings.

This Sunday: “All of us are on a spiritual journey from sin to salvation. Like the Israelites longing for a return to Egypt, many of us occasionally desire our old addictions, providing the anxious ego with comfort and security. Far from Egypt, the Promised Land is the spiritual space of complete dependence upon God. But the Israelites are not there yet. They need to eat the manna from heaven. For Catholics, this is the Eucharist. It is the means to getting God’s divine life within us. ”

Click here to listen to Fr. Barron’s Homily for This Sunday

Fr. Greg Friedman

Sunday Soundbites is a weekly, 90-second radio homily based on the Sunday readings, written and read by Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M. Sunday Soundbites is also heard on Catholic radio stations around the country.

This Sunday:As a friar, I’ve had the privilege to go on pilgrimage. Traveling to a holy place with other pilgrims is an experience of getting to know God, self and others. An important part of pilgrimage, believe it or not, is the food. You may smile, wondering what pilgrimage meals have to do with spirituality. Well, I enjoyed some of my best spiritual experiences around the table with my fellow pilgrims. The meals on pilgrimage in Assisi, Italy, were, of course, wonderful! But my memory of those meals always includes the wonderful people with whom I shared the food. It nourished both body and spirit.

Click here to listen to This Sunday’s Soundbite.

The ChurchYear.Net site is a resource that provides short and highly readable information on the Church Liturgical Year.

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi commemorates the Eucharist; traditionally it falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, although in some regions it is transferred to the following Sunday.

Click here to read more about Solemnity of Corpus Christi

A bit of wisdom we can all learn from:

Mercy QuotePlease click here to visit: jdetermination.tumblr.com for more pictures by the photographer.

A Taoist story tells of an old man who accidentally fell into the river rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for his life. Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls. People asked him how he managed to survive.

“I accommodated myself to the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived.”

- See more at: http://truecenterpublishing.com/zenstory/goflow.html#sthash.sPh0W5fe.dpuf

I Wish You Enough!

Here a story someone recently sent me:

Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said, “I love you, and I wish you enough.”

The daughter replied, “Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.”

They kissed and the daughter left. The Father walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever Good-bye?”

“I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is – the next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?”

He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone…” He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more. “When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.” Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”

He then began to cry and walked away. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.

This Sunday’s Readings

This weeks readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which uses the New American Bible.

Click here for THIS SUNDAY’s  readings

Click Here to Listen to THIS SUNDAY’s readings

 

The Word on Fire

The Word On Fire – Fr. Robert Barron’s internet site offers many interesting insights into all things Catholic. Fr. Barron has a full library of homilies that he has prepared and we will be featuring a link here to his 15 minute reflections on this week’s readings.

This Sunday: “God is Trinity. He is fundamentally a relationship: a lover, a beloved and the love between them. In other words, God is a complete openness and receptivity to the other. He is love. Now, we believe we are made in the image of God. Thus, we become fully alive to the degree that we imitate God. ”

Click here to listen to Fr. Barron’s Homily for This Sunday

Fr. Greg Friedman

Sunday Soundbites is a weekly, 90-second radio homily based on the Sunday readings, written and read by Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M. Sunday Soundbites is also heard on Catholic radio stations around the country.

This Sunday: “Will return soon”

Click here to listen to This Sunday’s Soundbite.

The ChurchYear.Net site is a resource that provides short and highly readable information on the Church Liturgical Year.

Trinity Sunday commemorates and honors not an event, but a reality: the Holy Trinity. Trinity Sunday falls on the Sunday after Pentecost.

Click here to read more about Trinity Sunday

Pentecost Sunday.jpgHow many of you know what you were doing during the evening of April 17th of this year?

If I told you that April 17th was a Thursday night this might help a bit, but if I added the word, Holy in front of Thursday that would assist some of you because on Thursday April 17th about 1,000 of you were here at St. Patrick’s for the first night of the Easter Triduum.

The gospel for that mass of the Lord’s Supper was from John, and we found ourselves with the disciples in what has come to be known as the “Upper Room.”

In a little over seven weeks, we have experienced gospel stories that saw Jesus wash the feet of his disciples, and leave us the nourishment of his Body and Blood. Our Lord was arrested, suffered and was crucified and died on a cross, and He rose again on the third day.

Last week, we heard the story of how Jesus had gathered the disciples on the mountain, and ascended into heaven. He made a final promise to them, and us, when he said; “I am with you always, until the end of the age. “

What did the disciples do following the Ascension?

Filled with uncertainty and fear they once again return to the Upper Room.In other words, it would seem that we are back to where we started on that chilly Holy Thursday evening.

Jesus knew his followers would need an Advocate. He promised one and on Pentecost, the advocate arrives in the third person of the Trinity- the Holy Spirit.

It is believed that on this Pentecost day, filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the disciples left the Upper Room, and the world has never been the same.

What are these gifts of the Holy Spirit?

It turns out that this is not a simple question. Over the years’ scholars and others have debated this point and as near as I can tell most who have studied the question say there are 7, while others argue for 9 and one suggested there are as many as 20 gifts of the Holy Spirit. They go by different names and have many interpretations.

As Catholics, we believe these gifts are given to us through the sacraments and in a special way in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.

One curious thing about our God is that he gives these gifts freely, and he leaves it up to us as to how and when, or even if we use them.

It can all be a bit confusing. For today’s homily, I have decided to go with the gifts mentioned in the Sacrament of Confirmation, and I have placed these 7 gifts into 3 gift baskets.

The first basket has four gifts in it, which are given to us by the Holy Spirit to help us to know that we are all the children of a God who loves us unconditionally.

Let us call this first basket the gift of the Word.

The sacred writings are the gift of knowledge.

The gift of understanding allows us to read this good news in the way God meant it to be read. It is our guide and invitation to transform our lives and the lives of those we meet.

The gift of right judgement helps us to live according to this Good News.

And the gift of wisdom implies that in time, we will learn from our mistakes, and we can get even closer to living following the teachings of Jesus.

The Second Basket I call the “WOW” basket.

There are two gifts in this bundle, and they can be fully utilized when we believe in our hearts that the creator of the universe also created us, and our God knows and loves us each, just as we are.

Acceptance of this fact allows us to fully and faithfully utilize the gift of piety. This is possible because we allow ourselves to immerse our souls in the gift of Wonder and Awe.

The final basket has only one item in it. This single gift, however, enables all the others to come fully to life. This is the gift of Courage.

The disciples hid themselves away behind locked doors out of fear. They felt safe perhaps even comfortable in that Upper Room.
For many of us, this church here at St. Patrick’s is our Upper Room as it should be, but we cannot stay here exclusively and be true to our calling as followers of Christ.

I experienced a real story of courage a few weeks back. I was presiding at a funeral service at a local funeral home as a young man was being remembered by his family and friends.

John was born with a number of challenges. His health meant that he would never be able to run fast or jump as high as the other kids. He looked different, and he was teased about it by many in his own age group.

Over the course of the hour or so that we were together at the service, I got a good picture of this young man whom I never met in life.
Thirty years after graduating High School ten of his best friends showed up for his service. His brother, cousin and two of his high school buddies shared many things about John’s life, but one theme kept coming through.

It was John’s courage that amazed those who knew him best. He was not bitter about the bad hand life had dealt him instead he made it his life’s mission to bring laughter and joy to others. Even though he faced many challenges, he pushed forward.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit come alive when we move forward even when we are terrified. Courage it turns out is only required when we are afraid.

Perhaps you are a young person like John, who is being bullied by others. Use the gift of courage with the knowledge that no matter how difficult things get you are loved by God. One challenge presented in the gospel is that we are called to love our enemies. Hard to love the bully and perhaps frightening, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible.
Perhaps you are here today, and you are the bully or part of a group that has picked out someone who is different to torment. You will need to find the courage to change or to leave this group of so-called friends. You must risk becoming the one who is bullied (persecuted) because you have decided to follow the teachings of Jesus.

At the other end of the demographic scale are those of us entering the final phase of our lives- perhaps you are old enough to be a grandparent. The gift of courage is required to accept that things are changing in our lives. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us to focus on what we can do for others rather than spending our remaining time on this earth in bitterness, lamenting what we can no longer accomplish.

Then there are those here today in the middle, who are the so-called sandwich generation. There are kids on one side, aging parents on the other and a whole lot of activity in the middle.

The gift of courage is required to be open to transforming our lives and making Christ the centre of our family, work and personal lives.

To accomplish such a transformation requires a person to be fully open to exploring and then using all the gifts freely given to us by the Holy Spirit. We need to read and understand the Joy of the Gospels. We can then decide to use our right judgement to live our lives based on that understanding. Since we will make mistakes, we must ask for and accept forgiveness realizing that wisdom comes through experience.

We will know this transformation is taking place when we allow ourselves to stand in humble piety, which leads to wonder and awe at the fact that we are loved unconditionally by our God.

Finally, with these gifts in hand, we pray to the Holy Spirit that we will find the courage to “Go in Peace and to glorify the Lord by our lives.”

The Pope on Piety

As Pentecost approaches Pope Francis has been using his Wednesday general audiences as an opportunity to talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The clips below highlight his teaching on what is perhaps the most misunderstood gift- Piety.

The first video is a news report about the audience that captures a few snippets of the Pope’s teaching. The second is a reading by one of the Pope’s assistants repeating the core message in English.

 

 

The Pope’s message on the Gift of Piety in English:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, we now turn to the gift of piety. Through this spiritual gift, we experience ever anew, with joy and gratitude, the loving relationship with God our Father which has been granted us in Jesus his Son. It is this loving relationship which grounds and perfects our authentic worship of God. The love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit leads us to perceive the Lord’s presence and love in our lives, and moves us to respond joyfully in prayer and adoration. Piety is not mere outward religiosity; it is that genuine religious spirit which makes us turn to the Father as his children and to grow in our love for others, seeing them as our brothers and sisters, members of God’s family. Let us ask that, through this gift of the Holy Spirit, we may always be ready to offer a helping hand to others, in the joyful awareness of that solidarity which is born of our communion with God in the unity of Christ’s body, the Church.

gifts of the holy spiritThere seems to be many different interpretations of what the various gifts of the Holy Spirit are and what they mean and how we might use them in our lives as followers of the Christ. One curious thing about our God is that he gives these gifts freely, and he leaves it up to us as to how and when, or even if we use them.

It can all be a bit confusing. For the upcoming homily, I want to see if it makes sense to put the gifts into one of three baskets.
The first basket has four gifts in it which help us to know that we are all the beloved children of a God who cares so much for us. He wants us to know and understand who he is and to use the teachings of his Son to guide our way in this life. The gifts that help us to know who we are include:

GS 1 to 4 To Know God
The second basket of gifts helps us to return God’s love. These gifts help us to realize the value we have in God’s eyes and to let Him know that we have decided to make Him the centre of our lives.

GS 5 and 6 To Love God

The final basket has only one gift in it. This gift is the one we need to make all the others come fully alive in our lives. It is this gift that helped the disciples leave that upper room and to go out into the world teaching everyone all that Jesus had taught them. This is the gift that helps us to “Go in peace and to glorify the Lord by our lives”.

GS 7 To Live as Jesus Taught

Lets go with these gifts for the Pentecost homily:

7 gifts of the Holy Spirit

Here is a quick little video that provides a guide to Pentecost in two minutes:

This Sunday’s Readings

This weeks readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which uses the New American Bible.

Click here for THIS SUNDAY’s  Readings

Click here to listen to THIS SUNDAY’s Readings

 

The Word on Fire

The Word On Fire – Fr. Robert Barron’s internet site offers many interesting insights into all things Catholic. Fr. Barron has a full library of homilies that he has prepared and we will be featuring a link here to his 15 minute reflections on this week’s readings.

This Sunday: “Everyone thirsts for the divine life. No one is content without it, even proclaimed secularists. Christ has come to give us that life and he calls us to seek it in him. Although no one will be fully satisfied in this life, the more we partake in the person of Christ, the more we will be fulfilled. ”

Click here to listen to Fr. Barron’s Homily for This Sunday

Fr. Greg Friedman

Sunday Soundbites is a weekly, 90-second radio homily based on the Sunday readings, written and read by Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M. Sunday Soundbites is also heard on Catholic radio stations around the country.

This Sunday:Shortly after Easter one year, a woman in my parish who had been received into the Church at the Easter Vigil told me how welcomed she felt in the Catholic family. The sense of openness and tolerance she experienced was especially important to her.

Click here to listen to This Sunday’s Soundbite.

The ChurchYear.Net site is a resource that provides short and highly readable information on the Church Liturgical Year.

Easter, also called Pascha, is a solemnity that celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Easter Sunday, the Sunday following Holy Week. Easter is also a 50-day season, often called Eastertide.

Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday, celebrates the birthday of the Christian Church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles. Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter, on Pentecost Sunday. Christian Pentecost differs from the Jewish celebration.

Click here to read more about Easter

gifts of the holy spiritAs I started to look into the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” in preparation for my upcoming Pentecost homily, I was reminded that the lists of these gifts seem to differ from place to place. As I roamed the Internet, I found that there are either 7 or 9 or as many as 20 gifts of the Spirit listed depending on what you are studying.

Let us begin with a quick look at these lists:

1) The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are:

1831 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.109 They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

2) This prayer used during the Sacrament of Confirmation also highlights 7 gifts calls some of them by different names:

1299 In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.113

3) Some places seem to advise that there are 9 gifts which come from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians :

1. The Word of Knowledge
2. The Word of Wisdom
3. The Gift of Prophecy
4. The Gift of Faith
5. The Gifts of Healings
6. The Working of Miracles
7. The Discerning of Spirits
8. Different Kinds of Tongues
9. The Interpretation of Tongues

4) Here is the biggest list coming in at 20:

The spiritual gifts listed below are found in three passages: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11
Administration
Knowledge
Apostleship
Leadership
Discernment
Mercy
Evangelism
Miracles
Exhortation
Pastor/Shepherd
Faith
Prophecy
Giving
Serving/Ministering
Healing
Teaching
Interpretation of Tongues
Tongues
Wisdom

 

 

 

Here is a story I found while wondering around the internet written by author Kent Nerburn. As you take a moment to read it I sill share the conclusion the Mr. Nerburn offers  when he observes: “We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

A Cab Ride I will never forget By: Ken Nerburn

TaxiTwenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One night I took a fare at 2:30 AM, when I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once.

But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good man,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse. “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “Oh, there are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. Our hug ended with her remark, “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy.” After a slight pause, she added, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

From Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living in the Spirit of the Prayer of St. Francis by Kent Nerburn. Published by HarperOne.

This Sunday’s Readings

This weeks readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which uses the New American Bible.

Click here for THIS SUNDAY’s  readings

 

The Word on Fire

The Word On Fire – Fr. Robert Barron’s internet site offers many interesting insights into all things Catholic. Fr. Barron has a full library of homilies that he has prepared and we will be featuring a link here to his 15 minute reflections on this week’s readings.

This Sunday: “The mysterious and wonderful feast of the Ascension of the Lord which celebrates Christ glorified “at the right hand of the Father”. The key to unlocking the marvels of this event is to recover a specifically Biblical understanding of the relationship of heaven and earth. ”

Click here to listen to Fr. Barron’s Homily for This Sunday

Fr. Greg Friedman

Sunday Soundbites is a weekly, 90-second radio homily based on the Sunday readings, written and read by Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M. Sunday Soundbites is also heard on Catholic radio stations around the country.

This Sunday:As we celebrate the feast of the Ascension, my inclination is always to think, “Well, Jesus ascended to heaven. We’re here on our own!” In today’s selection from the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus sends his disciples into the world with a mission. The Church is called to go to all the nations, to make disciples. That’s a big task–it’s been two thousand years and we’re not finished yet!

Click here to listen to This Sunday’s Soundbite.

The ChurchYear.Net site is a resource that provides short and highly readable information on the Church Liturgical Year.

Easter, also called Pascha, is a solemnity that celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Easter Sunday, the Sunday following Holy Week. Easter is also a 50-day season, often called Eastertide.

The Solemnity of the Ascension commemorates Jesus’ return heaven 40 days after his resurrection. Thus Ascension Day falls 40 days after Easter, on the 6th Thursday of Easter. In some parts of the world, the feast is transferred to the Sunday after the traditional date.

Click here to read more about Easter

Lillies of the Field

One of master Gasan’s monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned, he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible.
“No,” Gasan replied, “Please read some of it to me.”

The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading. After reading Christ’s words about the lilies in the field, he paused. Master Gasan was silent for a long time.

“Yes,” he finally said, “Whoever uttered these words is an enlightened being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here!”

From: John Suler’s Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors

Parables definitionOnce upon a time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

–Zen Parable

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