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November 17, 2000

ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA ENTERS INTO UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP WITH AMERICA ONLINE

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is now collaborating with America Online to enable more people to access the BlessMe.org web site. Through prominent anchor placement on a commercial search engine (AOL), the BlessMe.org site is easier for people to find. Since March 1, 1999 there have been almost 40,000 visitors to the site. (The BlessMe web site is an extension of the BlessMe Line which was started by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, in November 1998. The 1-877-BlessMe toll free line is answered by priests and is for those who have questions about their faith or Church teaching.)

In addition to placement on the search engine, BlessMe.org will also be part of AOL's Digital City Philadelphia web site (www.digitalcity.com). A rotating banner will advertise the BlessMe site under the health and fitness section. Currently our banner reads: Christmas - A Great Time to Come Home and provides a link to the BlessMe site. This banner also rotates on other Digital City Philadelphia pages. This began on November 1, 2000.

Pope John Paul II has called for new methods of evangelization. At the direction of Cardinal Bevilacqua, the Archdiocese continues to attempt to make full use of the available technology with electronic evangelization. Towards this end, the Archdiocese also plans to hold controlled chat room discussions beginning in January. (Details are being finalized.)

What do you find when you visit the recently reworked BlessMe site? Visitors can learn about the Catholic Catechism, find Readings and Psalms, locate Jubilee Churches and Shrines and read about the parish-based Disciples in Mission program. Visitors can also explore their faith through Disciples on the Internet. This innovative program allows visitors to e-mail a question about morality or Church teaching that will be answered by a priest. Since March of 1999, over nine thousand questions have been answered. A library of frequently asked questions is also available on the site.

The Jubilee Year and the years leading up to it have been a time of great renewal for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the efforts continue:

-Christmas A Great Time to Come Home: Television, radio, print and billboard advertising encouraging people to visit BlessMe.org or call the BlessMe Line
-Reconciliation 2000: Opportunity for those who have been away from the practice of their faith to experience God's loving forgiveness by receiving the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. Reconciliation 2000 will take place between December 10th and December 23rd in all 283 Archdiocesan parishes. www.blessme.org provides a listing of special times and churches where penance services and the hearing of Confession will be held. Confessions will be heard in all churches of the Archdiocese on December 23rd between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Approximately 100,000 people took part in Reconciliation Weekend in 1999)

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Editor's Note: Rev. Msgr. Charles Devlin, Vicar for Renewal and Evangelization, will be available for interviews on Thursday, November 16, 2000 and Friday, November 17, 2000. If you would like to schedule an interview with Monsignor Devlin or would like a demonstration of the connection between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and AOL, kindly contact Donna Crilley in the Office for Communications at 215-587-3747.

Contact
Donna Crilley
Broadcast and Media Specialist
215-587-3747

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