Archive | March, 2012

Looking for Something Spiritual to do on Good Friday? Attend the Vigil Outside of Planned Parenthood

March 30, 2012


GOOD FRIDAY PRAYER VIGIL (Organized by Pro-Life Action Ministries)

Photo courtesy of the Pro-Life Action Ministries website

 April 6, 2012

 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 New Planned Parenthood Mega-Abortion Facility (near University Ave. & Vandalia St., Saint Paul, MN)

On Good Friday join us in prayer next to Minnesota’s highest volume abortuary at it’s new location. Fifteen area pastors will lead in scripture and prayer each half hour throughout the day. A life-sized cross will be our sign as we carry the cross of abortion. An area will be cordoned off for a family-safe day of prayer. More than 2,000 Christians joined in prayer throughout the day at each of the last three Good Friday Vigils at the old location. Help us double those numbers on April 6!

We are encouraging groups to arrange a bus of their own. All buses must be registered with our office to find out the logistics of the day. We have another off-site parking lot for these group buses. For more information or to register a bus, contact Stephanie at 651-771-1500 or

Basic Things to Know:

  • Remember, more than any other event we organize, the Good Friday Vigil is a day of prayer. Pro-Life Action Ministries will only bring one sign, a life-sized cross. And the only signs you need to bring are yourselves!
  • We will have portable restrooms at the Vigil site. The street where we will be is closed to all traffic and our area will be surrounded by the police “bicycle” barricades. This will be as safe as ever for families.
  • Bring sun screen and all you need for your children, including water, etc.
  • Come ready to pray and be deeply moved by God.

Parking Information: (READ!)

  • There will be no parking available anywhere near the Mega-Planned Parenthood on Good Friday. Please do not even drive into the area.
  • We have arranged for parking at the University of St. Thomas at the St. Paul Seminary parking lots. You enter from Cretin Ave. at Grand Ave. Please follow the signs or the directions by our volunteers.
  • Buses will shuttle everyone to and from the Good Friday Prayer Vigil site. These buses will run the entire day from 8:00 am until our closing at 4:00 pm. There will be room for light strollers and everyone attending. If you are planning on being on site for the Opening Prayer, try to arrive as close to 8:00 am as possible. Also remember that the Vigil lasts all day and coming later in the Vigil has great advantages with parking and shuttles.
  • For a map to parking and more information:


  • Opening Prayer–Most Reverend John Nienstedt, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  • 9:30–Reverend Roger Barcus, Pastor of St. Paul Apostolic Temple, St. Paul
  • 10:00–Most Reverend Lee Pichè, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  • 10:30–Reverend Kenneth Krause, Outreach Pastor of Bethany Church, Bloomington
  • 11:00–Reverend Robert Grabner, Associate Pastor of St. Augustine/Holy Trinity, South Saint Paul
  • 11:30–Reverend David Johnson, Pastor of Elk River Evangelical Free Church, Elk River
  • 12:00–Reverend Michael Becker, Rector of St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul
  • 12:30–Reverend Randal Kasel, Pastor of the Churches of St. Paul and St. Michael, Zumbrota and Pine Island
  • 1:00–Reverand Larry Trawick, Associate Pastor Evangelist Crusaders Church, Minneapolis
  • 1:30–Reverend Humberto Palimino, Pastor Church of Saint Mark, St. Paul
  • 2:00–Reverend Leo Reck, Pastor of Word of Grace Baptist Church, Minneapolis
  • 2:30–Reverend Billy Russell, Pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Minneapolis
  • 3:00–Reverend Scott Carl, Associate Professor of Theology at Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul
  • 3:30–Reverend Fred Thoni, Pastor of Elmwood Evangelical Free Church, St. Anthony Village
  • 3:45–Reverend Brian Lother, Pastor of Hope Community Church, Corcoran
(Thank you Brian Gibson and the staff and volunteers of Pro-Life Action Ministries for their leadership in planning this vigil!)



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Northwest Sportshow is here!

March 29, 2012


The annual Northwest Sportshow is going on now at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis. Traditionally, it has been a don’t-miss event for me. I have been going off and on ever since I was in grade school.

I hope to make it again this year. Often, there is still snow on the ground, or it has just melted off. Not this year. The snow was gone by the end of the first week in March. But, that does not diminish my interest in the show. I realize I’ll have to act fast, as the show only goes through Sunday. Up until a few years ago, it used to run for nine days, and I would have plenty of time to go down.

For some reason, they squeezed it down to just five days. I have taken my dad a number of times, but not sure if that will work out this year. We have always enjoyed going together, but there’s so little time left that I have my doubts we can pull it off.

Still, even alone, I know I would enjoy it. I like seeing all of the booths for both fishing and hunting lodges, plus all of the gear. I’m not looking to make any major purchases, but it’s still fun to look. And, I may run into some of the people in the industry whom I have known for decades.

I’ll be curious to see if the early spring helps or hurts show attendance. After all, rather than just come to the show and talk about fishing and hunting, people actually can get out on the water or take a walk in the woods. Just this morning, I saw a big wild turkey tom displaying for a flock of hens. That gets my blood pumping for turkey hunting.

Going to the Sportshow will only make this disease worse!

Q: What do you enjoy most about the Sportshow?

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‘The Hunger Games’: Has it come out in time?

March 29, 2012



What’s all the fuss about “The Hunger Games” trilogy?

There’s not much not to like about the books: love story, drama, humor, revolution, friendship, family, patriotism, murder, mystery, sci-fi, war, military strategy, mind games.

No religion, outwardly at least. But definitely moral choices. The idea of people being willing to sacrifice their lives to save others, that has a familiar ring to it.

Thousands of young people reading the Suzanne Collins series have adults following suit, and the movie is a box office blockbuster.

Personally I wonder, has this tour de force come out in time?

Is this our future?

Can a make-believe story that shows dramatically a society in which a very few are extremely well-off and the rest of a nation an underclass wake up its readers to what’s happening in the United States this very day?

Can reading this fiction penetrate enough American brains so that we see the reality of our own 2012 culture, one in which one life is more valued than another? One in which the middle-class is not just shrinking but being hammered into submission?

Yes, “The Hunger Games” is about the evil of war and the horror of taking the life of another. The very thought of children killing other children is abhorent — as is the killing of any child, any human being at any stage (even in its mother’s womb). And children killing children as a form of entertainment for a privileged upper class doubly so.

But readers (and moviegoers) have to be able to equate the context of this futuristic, post-apocalyptic trilogy to life right now, and then to life as it very well could be in the years ahead.

Medicine, food, rights for just a few?

In “The Hunger Games,” the privileged in the Capitol district have incredibly advanced health care, science-fiction type of treatments, while in backwater District 12 where heroine Katniss lives, her mother treats the sick and wounded on her kitchen table with homemade remedies.

Some Christians today want to destroy the small steps the United States has taken to provide health care for those who aren’t fortunate enough to work for companies that have insurance plans.  As one of the books’ characters applies moss to a wound to slow bleeding, I recalled a benefit a corporate CEO received upon retirement: His health care paid for the rest of his life. Like with the millions this man was making every year he hadn’t stashed away enough to pay for his own health care!

In “The Hunger Games” there are fences around each of the districts of the fictional country of Panem, and those who dare to illegally cross a border in search of food are punished or killed. It is impossible for a thinking person not to picture Mexican workers willing to risk their lives to sneak over, under and around U.S. borders in search of work so they can eat and feed their families.

Is it right and good and just for Katniss to cross the border to help her mother and sister survive but not right and good and just for Juan and Juanita to do the same?

When some Mexicans enter the United States they do so illegally.  Absolutely.

But tell me you can read “The Hunger Games” and not hope that Katniss doesn’t get caught on the wrong side of the fence.

You may or may not agree with the Catholic bishops of this country as they protest forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraceptives and sterilization in their employees’ health insurance policies because it is a violation of the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. But you were on the side of Katniss, Peeta and Gale as they struggled to overcome the conscience-compromising policies of a powerful fictional government, weren’t you?

Time to ask ourselves hard questions

Here’s a good question to ask after reading or viewing “The Hunger Games”: What’s happening in my world that troubles my conscience but that I feel I can’t do anything about?

And how about a few more questions. We learn through authoritative studies about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. When we read “The Hunger Games” or see the film, it isn’t a reach to see how that kind of society of haves and have-nots is happening in our day. What might it take for America’s middle class to dissolve to the point that those with decent salaries and benefits could become like the underclass in Ms. Collins’ fictional world?

Would it take a so-called “right-to-work” act?

Maybe legislating collective bargaining rights out of existence?

Dissolving the nation’s health care act?

Sending good-paying jobs overseas where people are willing to work for half the salary so that a corporate CEO can retire with health care paid for life?

We see and hear the stories everyday about people who lost their jobs, lost their homes. They used to donate food to the food shelf; now they feed their families thanks to those same food shelves.

Talk about hunger games.

Bob Zyskowski is The Catholic Spirit’s associate publisher / general manager.

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What is the Sacred Paschal Triduum?

March 29, 2012


The Sacred Paschal Triduum is the three most solemn days of the liturgical year; Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.  These most holy days celebrate the Paschal Mystery, first, the passion, suffering, and death of the Lord Jesus, followed by his resurrection, the triumph of the holy cross, and Christ’s decisive victory over sin and death.

The Triduum is a single feast, the Paschal Mystery, celebrated over three days, and they are the three holiest days of the entire liturgical year.  It is ironic, however, that feasts like the Assumption on August 15, All Saints Day on November 1, and the Immaculate Conception on December 8, are holy days of obligation while the three days of the Triduum are not.  There is no Church law that requires attendance for the Triduum, but good laws only make compulsory what should be done anyway.

For example, God gave the Third Commandment, “Keep holy the Sabbath day” (Ex 20:8), which serves as the basis for the Sunday Mass obligation.  We should want to go to Mass every Sunday.  It is only right to give thanks for the many blessings that we receive over the course of the week, and if we do not nourish our faith regularly, minimally at least once a week, with God’s holy Word and Holy Communion, it is likely that we will become spiritually malnourished and weaker in our faith.  If there was no law, a devout disciple of Jesus would want to go to Mass every Sunday anyway because it is the right thing to do, but because so many are lax with their faith and fail to do what should be presumed, a law was established to make mandatory what Christians should eagerly and gladly do on their own.

If there were ever three days that Christians should want to go to church to pray, it would be the Triduum.  These days rank at the head of the liturgical calendar.  They celebrate the most sacred mysteries of our faith, and they ought to be celebrated with the community at liturgy.  The Jews have three high holy days, three pilgrimage feasts, Passover, Pentecost, and Booths, and those who lived outside of Jerusalem made pilgrimage to the Temple to celebrate these solemn occasions.  The three days of the Triduum are our “high holy days,” our “pilgrimage feast,” and we ought to make pilgrimage from our homes to church to commemorate and honor how the Lord Jesus laid down his life for us, his friends, for our salvation.

Please make it a top priority to go to church to celebrate the Triduum this year.  Reserve the time.  Rearrange your schedule if necessary.  Take some personal time off from work.  Suspend errands or jobs around the house.  Drop everything.  Plan to attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.  These days may be optional, but none are more important.  Enter into the mystery.

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Men’s conference March 31

March 28, 2012


Matthew Kelly

Still haven’t registered for the Archdiocesan Men’s Conference? No problem! Walk-in registrations are welcome. The event will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 31, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Cost is $15.

More information

Conference to give men ‘fresh perspective,’ speaker says

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Kalley Yanta Speaks Candidly to Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood

March 28, 2012


The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, asked women to speak out about access to the new women’s birth control benefit. Former news anchor, Kalley King Yanta, answers Ms. Richards’ invitation by letting her voice be heard via You Tube–and boy, does Kalley speak the Truth!

In the video, she explains that the pill does not allow a female to embrace life because of the side effects it has on the lining of the uterus (see second video below). Kalley is very honest about what birth control did to her during what she calls her “Prodigal Daughter Years”–a time when she made unhealthy choices. She bravely states, “It enabled and prolonged my promiscuous lifestyle…until I finally woke up and learned the truth about how the pill works.”

I agree with the comment made by sulu80:

“BRAVO!!! Thank you for your candor and your courage to stand up against the most evil “health care” institution in the world! Thank you for finding your voice and shooting straight from the hip. We need to also pray for the women Cecile Richards exploits. God bless you!”

Another viewer has a good point:

“She is trying to alert women to a medical fact: the pill causes intrauterine death of the conceived child. Most women do not realize this. It is not a religious belief, it is a scientific medical fact that you don’t want to deal with.”

Unfortunately, not all of the comments are positive, however (and the ones I list below were the “clean” ones):

“Kalley smells like a shitty diaper.” (By jongalbreath) and, “Stay out of my lady parts.” (Unknown)

Which brings me to the following reply with which I must agree:

“Man, it saddens me to see the vile comments made here, presumably by those who wave the flag of tolerance continuously. Whatever happened to civility?”

And lastly, ignatius814 stated:

“This is fantastic! Cecile, I’m still waiting for you to post your reply here.”

Watch the video!

YouTube Preview Image

View this educational video about the pill and learn how it is an abortifacient:

YouTube Preview Image

(Please read my other blog about Kalley Yanta’s video series on marriage between one man and on woman by clicking here.)

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Up for walking a Twin Cities ‘pilgrimage’?

March 26, 2012


What if you could make a pilgrimage right in the middle of the Twin Cities?

Pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes, the Holy Land and Rome are great if one can make those kinds of trips. The Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain — The Way of St. James — is gaining such popularity it’s been the focus of a Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie. That last one is 500 miles of walking through the French/Spanish countryside.

But for three years now, folks have been going on a much shorter walking trip through New York City. Meghan Clark chronicles the 13.5-mile journey well in photos and story.

So here’s the question for you?

Think we could do something similar in the Twin Cities?

Where would you start? What stops would you make along the way, and why?

What should be “can’t-miss” opportunities? What might be prayerful events to include, people to speak to the group (maybe about the history of the place, the architecture, etc.)?

What would make a good, interesting route?

Remember, this would be a walking activity, a trip that would be completed in one day. Lots of daylight hours from mid-May through July would make for the best time of year. Figure it’s 10 miles between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

Comment to this post or email your suggestions to

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Waiting in line for confession? What to do and not do

March 26, 2012


In line for confession at the Vatican or anywhere else, make the most of the wait time. Photo/rufty Licensed under Creative Commons

I plan on going to confession before Easter and I know I’m not alone. No matter how often Catholics receive the sacrament, many find this is an especially good time to seek forgiveness and healing in preparation for Our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.

I don’t know if there will be a long line at my church when I go but I’m guessing I’ll  have to wait. I don’t like it but it’s a great way to work on patience–a virtue that comes up often when I’m in the confessional.

If you’re like me and you sometimes do your formal preparation for confession during the car ride to church, waiting in line to receive the sacrament of reconciliation offers the chance to slow down and really think about what I’m doing.

If you get to church and find a long confession line, maybe the first thing to ask is, do I really need to go right now? If you’re confessing venial rather than mortal sins, confessing them is a good idea but when many others in line may have more serious sins to confess, you can seek forgiveness during Mass, as Father Zuhlsdorf suggests in his blog.

Ways to prepare for confession while waiting

  • Pray: Ask God to help you make a good confession. Pray the rosary for His guidance. One friend prays that he can be honest and confess all the Lord wants him to, and also that he’ll be receptive to what God wants to reveal to him through the priest. Here are some pre-confession prayers.
  • Prepare: This site offers a good guide for making a confession and Catholics Come Home offers a number of resources.
  • Examine: If you’re not sure everything came to mind during your car examination, make a more thorough examination of conscience now. Check one of these sites while you’re waiting:
    Here’s one that offers both preparation for the sacrament and an examination of conscience.
    This one might be hard to read on a phone but I think it’s good.
    Father John Hardon offers an in-depth examination of conscience.
    This examination is also thorough.
  •  Reflect on your sins and seeking forgiveness. Read the bible. Some churches offer guides with prayers or reflections near the confessional. Orthodox priest Father Ted Bobosh offers a beautiful meditation on confession and the wisdom writings in the book of Sirach on his blog.

A  few things not to do in line

  • Talk:  This is not the time to get to know fellow parishioners. You disturb others who are praying and concentrating on receiving the sacrament.
  • Text, Surf or play games on your phone: Using your phone or iPad to pray or do an examination of conscience will help prepare you for the sacrament but texting or using other apps won’t. Try turning it off if you’re not using it for preparation.
  • Sing or pray out loud:  Find another place in the church for this if it helps you prepare.

The idea of going to confession makes some people anxious enough without adding a long wait in line. If we can see this wait time as a gift rather than an early penance we can go into the confessional the same way we leave it–with peace.

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DeLaSalle is tops in AAA basketball, boys and girls

March 26, 2012


Junior guard Luke Scott of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis keeps the ball away from a Minneapolis Washburn defender during the state Class AAA championship game March 24 at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Two story lines emerged from the state boys basketball tournament in Class AAA. One was the dramatic win by the DeLaSalle High School boys on Saturday, March 24 at Target Center in Minneapolis to complete the first boys-girls sweep of state titles in school history. The girls won the championship the week before, winning their second consecutive title.

The second was the fact that the Scott family now has produced its third state basketball champion. Junior Luke joins his older brother, Joe, and older sister, Veronica, as gold-medal winners. Joe played on the Islanders’ championship team of 2006, while Veronica played for Totino-Grace’s title team in 2008. Though records are not kept on things like this, it may be the most amazing family title run ever. All three made the all-tournament team.

I went to grade school (St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony) with the kids’ dad, Kelly, who played for the Gophers in the early 1980s with the likes of Randy Breuer, and was on the last Gopher team to win the Big Ten title (1982). Kelly was featured in The Catholic Spirit for a program he runs called Spirit and Sport. He also has written a book about his playing days called “Inspirations from the Bench.”

Kelly emailed me yesterday to make sure I was aware of yet another milestone in the Scott household. Indeed, I knew about Luke and was looking for him in the championship game, and was fortunate to get a few photos of him (see photo above). As excited as Kelly was about his son’s basketball success, something else fueled his pride even more. He writes:

“The neatest thing was what a neighbor said about Luke. He said his sons were so excited as Luke was named Player of the Game for Thursday’s game [62-49 win over Grand Rapids in the state quarterfinals]. But what really caught their hearts is when they went to the [eucharistic] adoration chapel that night – there was Luke in deep prayer. You see, Luke goes to the adoration chapel every day to lift up the family and the world in prayer. As much as it was very exciting to win a state championship, he knows what is even more exciting is to spend that time in the presence of our King and Savior.
I am blessed to have his example to the family.”

Perhaps, Luke may have lifted up a prayer to Brother Michael Collins, long-time president of the school who died Jan. 8 after a very short battle with lung cancer. Brother Michael’s name came up during the interviews after the state-championship game. I watched head coach Dave Thorson choke up when he started talking about Brother Michael.

“The last three months have been very tough. My best friend died in January – Brother Michael Collins,” Thorson said. “He’s smiling up there someplace.”

Thorson’s sentiments were echoed by assistant coach Todd Anderson, who said both the boys and girls teams were inspired by Brother Michael in a special way this season. In fact, players on both teams wore jerseys with the letters BMC embroidered on them, in a tribute to Brother Michael. Players from the boys team could be seen grabbing at their emblems and pointing to them after the championship game.

“He’s been with us the whole time, if you want to know the truth,” Anderson said. “You can almost feel that presence.”

Hearing those comments by Thorson and Anderson made me flash back to 2006, moments after the DeLaSalle boys had won their previous state title. Thorson and Brother Michael embraced, and I was able to capture that moment with my camera. Little did I know how meaningful that image would be.

The DeLaSalle boys and girls gave me lots to photograph this year. Congratulations to both teams – and the Scott family – for making history!

Q: What did you enjoy about the state boys and girls basketball tournaments?

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“Do Not Be Afraid!”

March 25, 2012


March 25th marks the date of the Annunciation. It is the day that Gabriel proclaimed the good news to Mary that Christ would be born within her. This year – because the date lands on a Sunday – we are celebrating that feast on March 26th.

I don’t normally see this blog as a place for my personal stories but this day is special  – so bare with me.

It was on March 25th some nine years ago Christ was born within me too.

In 2003 my children were attending a Catholic school.  As part of the Lenten practice, they were offered the sacrament of reconciliation as part of their school day.  Though I was a cradle Catholic and my children attended Catholic School, I had not visited that sacrament since my Confirmation. For me that was when I was in 4th grade!  Prompted by what I now understand as the Holy Spirit, but at the time felt like the guilt of expecting my children to go to confession when I didn’t go myself – I made an appointment to visit the new priest at our church.  The objective of my appointment was to argue with him the teachings of the faith.  Filled with misconceptions and pride,  I descended on this poor priest as if I would be able to convince him to “set the church right.”  At that time I rarely went to Mass, never prayed and and I certainly didn’t know that the date of my appointment fell on the feast day of the Annunciation. I didn’t know what a feast day was and I would have had to look up the word “Annunciation” if I even knew how to spell it.

I would have then called myself a Pro- Choice Catholic! (Who knew that 6 years later I would be working on the Archbishop’s staff as the Respect Life Coordinator.)

What happened at that meeting changed my life.  As Father patiently waited out my arguments on contraception, abortion and the anti- woman establishment that I saw as the Catholic Church, he offered some education, but most of all he offered me compassion.  At one point I remember getting up to leave – I didn’t want to hear what he had to say.
Out of no where he said to me, “Sharon, what are you afraid of?” The words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I sat back down, cried for 5 minutes and entered into a confession – a real confession; a confession of my life, of all my fears and my pain.

When angels appear in the bible – it seems they always start out with the phrase “Do not be afraid. ” Our common idea of angels is  cute little cherubs or gentle looking young men with wings.  But angles – must be awesome – and I don’t mean in the way that we say pizza is awesome.  Fired by the Holy Spirit and carrying the message of God – they appear to us as something we ARE afraid of. Is it the wings of fire, glowing with bright light or with a voice that booms of an orchestra or organ?  What is it that we are afraid of?

Ultimately, I think we are afraid of the message that they bring; the message of knowing ourselves and of seeing ourselves as who we really are.  We are afraid because we cannot comprehend the idea that if anyone knew the real us – the us that only God knows – that we could really be loved in return.  We also are afraid of what God may ask of us if we accept that love and try to return it.

On the day that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said “Do not be afraid” Mary carried Christ within her for nine months. She carried her love for Him through his death on the cross.

Was she afraid of what God might see in her heart?

Was she afraid of what saying yes to God might mean?
I don’t know, but her  “Fiat” meant that not only would she carry God within her womb, but that God would carry her and would always be with her.

I realize now just how unprepared  I am to carry God within me to anyone. I realize how unqualified I am to work for Life.  I realize how unworthy I am to even receive the Eucharist at Mass. But when I say ‘Yes” I don’t have to be afraid, because like Mary – God carries me too.

So this Lent, I ask – how long has it been since your last confession and “What are you afraid of?”

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