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February 25, 2005


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces parishioners donated more than 2.64 million dollars to the tsunami relief effort. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, asked parishes in the five-county area of the Archdiocese (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties) to hold special collections during Sunday Mass following the tsunami that impacted southern Asia and Eastern Africa. Parish elementary schools also contributed to their parish collections.

In addition to financial contributions for the tsunami victims, Cardinal Rigali asked the faithful of the Archdiocese to join with him in prayer. The Cardinal celebrated a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Wednesday, January 5, 2005, to remember those who lost their lives or are suffering in any way due to the tsunami. Almost all of the notes and cards accompanying contributions offered prayers for the victims.

The millions of dollars raised by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will be forwarded to Catholic Relief Services, the official international relief and development agency of the United States Catholic community. Cardinal Rigali, in a letter to Bishop Robert N. Lynch, Chair of Catholic Relief Services, said, "The enormity of this tragedy touched the hearts of the faithful of our Archdiocese in a singular and deep way. Their prayerful solidarity with those who lost their lives as well as with the countless men, women and children who struggle to rebuild their lives continues each day. Furthermore, their financial response was historic for this Archdiocese."

This is the largest special collection ever taken by the parishes of the Archdiocese but parishioners have demonstrated their generosity many times in the past. Some recent examples include special collections for those affected by the hurricanes in Florida, the Dominican Republic and Haiti and for assistance to the people of Sudan, suffering from civil war.

The twenty-one high schools of the Archdiocese also held fund-raisers to benefit the relief effort. On Monday, February 28, 2004 at 10:00 a.m., student representatives of the twenty-one schools will gather at Cardinal Dougherty High School, 6301 North Second Street in Philadelphia, to present a check representing the funds the high schools have gathered (that total is not included in the $2.64 million Archdiocesan figure).

Editor's Note: Stations should have file video of the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Rigali for the tsunami victims at the Cathedral on Wednesday, January 5, 2005.

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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