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September 9, 2008


Cardinal Tours Catholic Chaplain's Office at the Penitentiary

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Catholic Chaplain's Office at Eastern State Penitentiary, which will include a look at religious murals painted by former inmates. This is Cardinal Rigali's first visit to Eastern State Penitentiary, which closed in 1971. The National Historic Landmark re-opened for public tours in 1994.

Thursday, September 11, 2008
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Eastern State Penitentiary
22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, 19130

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia's relationship with Eastern State Penitentiary began in 1870 when Archdiocesan priests were assigned to the prison to minister to inmates.

Built in 1880 the Catholic Chaplain's Office was once used as a make-shift chapel to hold the first Catholic Confirmation at the prison. On April 12, 1914 the first Catholic Mass was held at the penitentiary and 390 inmates were in attendance. The former penitentiary is now open for tours every day, year round from 10 am to 5 pm.

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For more information on Eastern State Penitentiary and the Catholic Chaplain's Office
please contact Ellen Gilbert, Marketing Manager, at 215-236-5111 x15

For more information about the Archdiocese of Philadelphia please visit

Kevin Mulligan
Associate Director

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