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December 4, 2002


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will celebrate the Closing Mass of the Tenth Archdiocesan Synod, an historic event for the Archdiocese and for parishioners of 282 parishes. The Synod brought together priests, deacons, members of religious orders and lay persons to consider prayerfully and seriously the current state of the Church's life in order to create a vision and plan for the future. Dennis Cardinal Dougherty convened the last Archdiocesan Synod in 1934. In diocesan Synods prior to Vatican II, only the clergy participated. In the Tenth Archdiocesan Synod, more than half of the 242 members are lay persons (135).

Sunday, December 8, 2002
Procession 2:30 p.m.
Mass 2:30 p.m.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Approximately 1000 people are expected to attend. The Entrance Procession will include the 242 Synod members. As the Procession enters the Cathedral, Cardinal Bevilacqua will bless a statue of Saint Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia. The life-size plaster statue was the model for the statue installed at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and blessed by Cardinal Bevilacqua in November 2002 and will be on permanent display at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Cardinal Bevilacqua called for a Synod in December 2000 to hear the voice of lay persons, clergy and members of religious orders on a wide variety of issues. During the first consultative phase in fall 2001, the Cardinal invited all Catholics in the Archdiocese to give voice to their needs, hopes and desires for the faith through written descriptions. Based upon the responses, a General Preparatory Commission recommended topics to the Cardinal.

Cardinal Bevilacqua selected the following topics: 1.Spirituality, Call To Holiness and Sacraments2.Roles of Service in the Church and in the World: Role of the Laity, Role of the Religious, Role of the Clergy 3.Marriage and the Family 4.Youth and Young Adults 5.Catholic Education of Youth 6.Adult Faith Formation 7.Moral and Social Issues - A Pastoral Response 8.Liturgy 9.Evangelization. Open meetings on the topics took place throughout the five counties of the Archdiocese during spring 2002.

During the three working sessions in fall 2002, topical commissions (one for each topic) presented proposals to the Synod members. Synod members discussed the proposals and then offered their recommendations to Cardinal Bevilacqua, who is considering the acceptance, modification or non-acceptance of the Synodal recommendations. The Cardinal is expected to announce his decisions in early 2003.

Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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