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March 7, 2005


Theme: "We the People: Proclaiming Faith and Freedom"

More than 15,000 delegates and exhibitors are expected to attend the 102nd Annual Convention and Exposition of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in Philadelphia, March 29 through April 1, 2005. Most of the sessions will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will signal the start of a second century of service to Catholic education.

The NCEA convention is open to anyone working in or interested in Catholic education. It features general sessions and liturgies, department meetings, development sessions, technology sessions, presentations and workshops. The NCEA is the largest private, professional education association in the world. NCEA membership represents more than 200,000 educators serving 7.6 million students at all levels of Catholic education.

This will be the largest celebration of Catholic education in the Archdiocese since 1996, the last time the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hosted the NCEA Convention.

Monday, March 28th - 7:00 p.m. "Freedom Parade on the Parkway"
The Freedom Parade features 5,000 thousand students, eight marching bands, a 600 member chorus and a 300 member red, white and blue flashlight brigade. Sponsored by the schools and parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Freedom Parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. at 222 N. 17th Street and proceed up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the steps of the Franklin Institute. At the Franklin Institute, the chorus will sing the National Anthem and an original song commissioned for the Freedom Parade titled "The Freedom to Dream" (copyright 2005). Music and lyrics were written by Mr. Edward J. Allen Jr., Assistant Principal for Student Affairs, at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Delaware County. Students will also present a check representing funds raised by the secondary schools for tsunami relief efforts.

Tuesday, March 29th - Opening Day
9:15 a.m. Opening Ceremonies:
Cardinal O'Hara High School drum line and fanfare will lead a procession of students representing elementary, secondary and religious education programs of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; many of the students will be in ethnic dress to reflect the diversity of the Archdiocese. Students will offer a welcome to the delegates in fifteen different languages.

9:30 a.m. Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Vatican Pontifical Commission on Social Communications, will deliver the keynote address. Archbishop Foley is a Philadelphian and former editor of the Archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times.

11:15 a.m. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will be the celebrant and homilist at the opening Mass.

Wednesday, March 30th
4:15 p.m. Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York,
will celebrate Mass.

7:30 p.m. "Concert of Excellence" - Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. This concert features more than 500 musicians and soloists in the All-Catholic bands, choruses and orchestras. The program is highlighted by music selections performed by the Archdiocesan Elementary Honors Band, the All-Catholic Secondary Concert Band, the All-Catholic Chorus and All-Catholic Orchestra. This year marks a first for the All-Catholic Orchestra: of its 40-member string section, 16 elementary school musicians proved they were talented enough to join the ranks of the older players.

Thursday, March 31st
9:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics,
serving 1.4 million Special Olympic athletes and their families in over 150 countries and focusing on acceptance, inclusion and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities across the globe.

4:15 p.m. Cardinal William Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore will celebrate Mass.

Friday, April 1st
9:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Sister Mary Rose McGeady, former President and CEO of Covenant House International,
an agency dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of street youth.

10:15 a.m. Most Reverend Joseph P. McFadden, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia overseeing Catholic Education, will celebrate Mass.


Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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