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April 12, 1999

CARDINAL BEVILACQUA ASKS ARCHDIOCESE PARISHES
FOR EMERGENCY COLLECTION AND PRAYER SERVICES
FOR PEOPLE OF KOSOVO

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has asked pastors of the 287 Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to consider taking up an emergency collection between now and May 10, 1999 and to schedule an evening of prayer for peace for Kosovo refugees.

In a letter to pastors dated April 9, 1999, Cardinal Bevilacqua wrote, "The situation in Kosovo moves all people of good will to compassion for their brothers and sisters who are suffering this terrible crisis. This is a moment which requires fervent prayer and financial sacrifice. For this reason, I ask you to consider conducting a special second collection for the relief of the refugees. Due to the great need for food and medical supplies, I request that this emergency collection be held in your parish as soon as possible, on any weekend prior to May 10, 1999."

"For the past year, the world has watched with sadness and horror as the media has presented stories and images of the sufferings of the people of Kosovo," wrote Cardinal Bevilacqua. "These people have witnessed friends and family members senselessly gunned down in the streets. They have been forced from their homes and now are subject to disease, hunger and death. Their only hope is to seek safety, far from their homes in NATO refugee camps."


On March 29th, Cardinal Bevilacqua and the seven other United States Cardinals urged an immediate end to the fighting and called for the convocation of a peace conference. In two letters, one to President Clinton and another to Yugoslavian President Slobodan Miloslevic, the U.S. Cardinals echoed the words of Pope John Paul II, " It is never too late to meet again and negotiate." The Vatican has been concentrating on diplomacy and humanitarian work with regard to Yugoslavia. Pope John Paul II has made a personal contribution of $50,000 to the relief effort.

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Contact
Cathy Rossi
Communications Director
215-587-3747

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