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July 10, 2000


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia,announces the founding of the Matt Talbot-Emmaus Center. The Center is designed to be a resource for anyone in need of the program of spirituality as presented in the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Cardinal Bevilacqua said, "I am pleased to announce the founding of the Matt Talbot-Emmaus Center for recovering alcoholics. The Center promises to be a valuable asset on the long journey to recovery. A God-centered spirituality is a crucial part of this journey."

Statistics show that approximately ten percent of the total population is alcoholic. Alcoholism affects not only the alcoholic, but the entire community. According to Cardinal Bevilacqua, "The Matt Talbot-Emmaus Center is not only for those who are addicted, but for their families as well. Many people now have another place to turn to, a place where others will understand their problems and provide the support that is so crucial."

The Center is not a residential program. It will present day-long retreats, as well as days and evenings of reflection. Programs will be offered by people in recovery. Cardinal Bevilacqua said, "Alcoholism is a devastating disease. The Matt Talbot-Emmaus Center promises new life for those who are dependent on alcohol. With God's help and the support of the community, there is much hope."

Who was Matt Talbot?
The life of the venerable Matt Talbot has been an inspiration for alcoholics throughout the world. He was an alcoholic at an early age; every effort to stop drinking failed. When he was ready to despair, he stumbled into a Church and rediscovered his personal devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. This gave him strength to resist the temptation to drink. The depth of spirituality which came from Matt Talbot's sobriety has moved forward his cause for sainthood . It is hoped that naming the spirituality center after Matt Talbot will help alcoholics and at the same time support his cause for sainthood.
Emmaus refers to the town to which two disciples' of Jesus journeyed. The disciples were dejected after the events of Good Friday. Then Jesus appeared to them and assured them God would see them through this difficult time.

Where is the Center located?
The Matt Talbot-Emmaus Center occupies the rectory and school buildings of what had been previously Saint Hedwig's Parish at 24th and Brown Streets. (215-765-8550) The church at St. Hedwig's will remain a worship site for St. Francis Xavier Parish at 24th and Green Streets.

Who will direct the Center?
Reverend Monsignor William Dombrow has been appointed Director of the Center. Previously, for the past ten years, he served as pastor of Immaculate Conception parish at Front and Allen Streets. Presently, Monsignor Dombrow is Chairman of the Archdiocesan Priests' Committee on Alcoholism.


Donna Crilley
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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