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September 14, 2001


Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has requested that all Archdiocesan priests use their homilies this weekend to address the horrific events that occurred in New York City, Washington, D.C. and western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Homilies at Saturday evening vigil masses and on Sunday morning will touch upon the theme that God's love is unconditional, that evil is caused by the absence of God's love in man's heart, that God is powerfully present to sustain us at this time of great turmoil and confusion, and that we must not allow hate to overcome us.

At the direction of Cardinal Bevilacqua, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has offered priestly assistance to the Archdiocese of New York and Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Center during this time of crisis. More than two dozen Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests have already volunteered to go to New York to assist with funerals, memorial Masses, spiritual counseling, daily Masses, devotions and other pastoral needs.

All 283 parishes of the Archdiocese have been asked by Cardinal Bevilacqua to include prayers for the victims and everyone touched by these tragic events in weekend liturgies. A letter from the Cardinal to parishioners that offers comfort and urges us to keep our faith in God will be read at Masses this weekend. Pope John Paul sent a telegram to President George Bush on Wednesday and expressed his profound sorrow and condemnation for the tragedy during an audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday. (Text of the Cardinal's letter and the Holy Father's message are available at under Cardinal on Terrorism or Archbishop Statements orNews).

This weekend the Archdiocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults will sponsor a prayer rally where students will join together to form a giant cross on the football field and gather relief supplies to send to New York:

Prayer Rally for Justice and Peace
Sunday, September 16,2001
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cross will be formed at 2:30 p.m.
Football Field at Cardinal Dougherty High School, 6301 North Second Street, Philadelphia

In the time since the terrorism attacks on September 11, 2001, the following has occurred in the

- honoring National Day of Mourning and Prayer: pastors were requested to keep the doors of Churches open during the day, particularly at lunchtime, on Friday, September 14, 2001. Pastors offered lunchtime Masses, prayer services or a refuge for private prayers

-prayers: parishes held special prayer services or special Masses beginning Tuesday afternoon. Cardinal Bevilacqua issued a statement on the terrorism tragedy to the media Tuesday afternoon; celebrated a Memorial Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in center city on Wednesday (3000+ attended); joined other religious and political leaders for a city prayer service Thursday and led a prayer on the radio Friday

-schools: parish elementary schools and archdiocesan high schools offered prayer services when children returned to school (Catholic schools closed at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday and reopened on Wednesday)

- counseling: school administrators and staff are addressing the fear and insecurity of some children. Catholic Social Services is offering bereavement and crisis counseling through 11 Family Service Centers located throughout the Archdiocese.

Editor's Note: If you are interested in attending any Masses this weekend, please call our media message line at 215 - 965 - 1730 for a list of parishes that are open to a media presence.

Cathy Rossi

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