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February 12, 1999


Attached is Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua's Lenten Message to be communicated to the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the weekend of February 13th and 14th. Please feel free to quote from the letter or to print it in its entirety.

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Lent 1999

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The Church is rich in traditions that help us draw closer to God. The season of Lent, for example, prepares our mind, heart and spirit for Easter by deepening our awareness of Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert. During Lent we also enter the desert to rededicate ourselves to Christ's mission of evangelization.

The desert is a place of silence where the Israelites heard God's voice. Lent, therefore, is a time of listening. I encourage you to find a place of silence as you pray, reflect and meditate on the Paschal Mysteries.

The desert is a place of discipline where the Israelites experienced hunger and thirst. Lent affords us the opportunity to discipline our bodies and spirits by fasting. By controlling our desires we purify our hearts and strengthen our wills to do what is right and just as we journey to the Promised Land of heaven.

Finally, in the desert the Israelites became a people. In Lent, we recall that we are the People of God redeemed by the blood of Christ crucified. We are responsible for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than ourselves. In practicing almsgiving we love Christ in them and live the Father's love, our theme for this year of renewal.

Be assured of my prayers as you begin this rich tradition of the Church. May you persevere in your Lenten renewal, and by your practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, come to know and love Jesus more fully on Easter morning.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua

Archbishop of Philadelphia

Marie Kelly
Associate Director
215 587-3747

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