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March 3, 2003


Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and around the world are asked to pray and fast for peace, especially on Ash Wednesday. Pope John Paul II has asked Catholics worldwide to dedicate their fasting on Ash Wednesday for the peaceful resolution of disputes, especially in the Middle East. The Holy Father has also asked that every Marian shrine throughout the world to dedicate an "ardent prayer for peace" by praying the Rosary (there are two Shrines dedicated to Mary within the Archdiocese: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Germantown and Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Bucks County).
Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will celebrate Mass and distribute ashes following the Mass on:

Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2003
12:05 p.m.
Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul
18th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of Lent for Christians throughout the world. Lent is the penitential season of prayer and sacrifice from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday, in preparation for Easter. Catholics throughout the Archdiocese will visit their parish churches to receive the blessed ashes, which are marked in the sign of a cross on the foreheads of the faithful. The symbolic ashes remind the faithful of their mortality. All Catholics fourteen years of age and older are bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. All Catholics eighteen years of age and older, up to and including their fifty-ninth birthday, are bound to fast by limiting themselves to a single full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, while the other two meals on those days are to be light. They are also encouraged to attend Mass and to receive the Holy Eucharist daily, to celebrate frequently the Sacrament of Penance, to undertake spiritual reading, especially the study of the Sacred Scriptures, and to participate in parish Lenten devotions as well as Lenten education programs.
In the chapel adjacent to the Cathedral, distribution of ashes will take place during the following Masses: 7:15 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
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Editor's Note: Video cameras will NOT be permitted in the Cathedral during Mass. A video and audio mult-box feed will be available in the Cathedral parking lot (entrance on 17th Street between Vine and Race Streets). Crews will need a bnc connector and a recording deck. A staff person will be available to assist. Reporters and still cameras will be permitted in the Cathedral with limited movement.

Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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