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March 16, 1999

CARDINAL BEVILACQUA TO JOIN BROTHER PRIESTS
HEARING CONFESSIONS FOR "RECONCILIATION WEEKEND"



CULMINATION OF "BLESS ME" CAMPAIGN TO BRING PEOPLE BACK TO THE CHURCH


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will lead a prayer service and hear confessions as part of Reconciliation Weekend in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Reconciliation Weekend is the final phase of an almost year-long campaign to bring people back to the Catholic Church and the Sacraments.

Friday, March 19, 1999
6:30 p.m. Cardinal Bevilacqua media availability
7:00 p.m. Penance Service
7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Confessions
St. Martin of Tours Parish
Roosevelt Boulevard and Cheltenham Avenue
Philadelphia

Saturday, March 20, 1999
9:30 a.m. Cardinal Bevilacqua media availability
10:00 a.m. Penance Service
10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Confessions
Saints Philip and James Parish
723 East Lincoln Highway
Exton, PA


Cardinal Bevilacqua is one of more than 1100 priests who will hear confessions at 84 churches Reconciliation Weekend. Cardinal Bevilacqua has called on every priest in the Archdiocese, including retired priests, to hear confessions this weekend.

In November, 1998, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia launched the toll-free 1-877-BLESS ME hotline, on which people can speak anonymously with a priest. The BLESS ME hotline has received almost 13,000 calls in four months. On March 1, 1999, the Archdiocese established a website at http://www.blessme.org, which also allows people to contact a priest. In two weeks, the website has had more than 2,600 "hits."

Since mid-January, almost 12,000 specially commissioned parishioners delivered "reconciliation packets" to every registered Catholic in the Archdiocese, inviting them to participate in Reconciliation Weekend.

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Editor's Note: Because of the need to be sensitive and courteous to those who are attending Reconciliation Weekend services, there will be restrictions on how long cameras are allowed to photograph those services. Cameras will only be allowed inside churches for the opening procession. No cameras will be allowed inside churches during confession. Reporters may interview people outside churches.

Contact
Cathy Rossi
Director
215-587-3747

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