• hope-fit

    Join us at the HOPE HOUSE!

    Want to find a way to live out your faith? Are you passionate about social justice? Would you like to serve an under-served community in Chicago? Join us at the Hope House! The Hope House is an intentional community that serves Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood in conjunction with the Port Ministries. Community members pay modest rent to live at the Hope House and provide 20 volunteer hours per month to one of the Port Ministries’ programs.

    Molly, for example, is a full time ER nurse at a local hospital. She serves the Port by coordinating volunteers for the Port’s Free Clinic. Kevin is a youth worker at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. He serves the Back of the Yards through his open gym basketball outreach at the Port. Shanu, an MD, is working on starting up the Peoples School at the Port where neighbors can teach their skills to the community, and together, the community can find creative ways to thrive rather than simply survive.

    Our structure is set up so that residents can have full time jobs of their own and live together with the common goal of service and prayer. Alongside the 20 volunteer hours per month, Hope House residents make a commitment to prayer twice a week, Franciscan mass once a week, and weekly community meetings. We are looking for future Hope House community members who are dedicated to living simply, serving the Back of the Yards, and deepening their faith.

    UPDATED: Applications to move in to the Hope House April 1st, 2016 are due January 22nd, 2016. For more info and to request an application, please email us: hope@theportministries.org



    This past summer a group of young adults went on a mission trip to Peru that was organized by Auxiliary Bishop George Rassas. Elizabeth Gunther, one of the group leaders, was kind enough to share her experience with us:

    pic1The plane took off into the air, the first of eight plane rides for the next twelve days. My co-leader, Brian, and I sat next to each other silently, shell-shocked that our journey, after seven months of preparation, had just begun. When we finally started to talk, tears streamed down my face while his blue eyes pooled with tears he was fighting back. The tears were about so much. My tears came from the struggle to decide to go, the struggle to say yes to God when I didn’t want to spend my time, my money, and my energy this way. These tears spoke to my doubt within myself and, if I am honest, my doubt in God.”What difference could I make? Can I really lead this group of young adults? Why did God want me here? Am I enough?”
    Typically the way I prove to myself and to others that I am enough is by leading. Successful leadership is based on efficiency, organization, and attention to detail. However, from the very beginning of the trip, I was downright frustrated with the slow, disorganized pace with which the tour of Lima was being conducted. I was even more frustrated with my lack of control. I was in a foreign country, didn’t speak the language, and was dependent on others for transportation. I had no control and could not prove my efficacy as a leader. I slowly felt my worth dwindling away. I tried speaking with the leader in whom we had entrusted our group, but nothing changed. I tried petitioning my co-leader. That didn’t work either.
    At this point in the trip, I realized that the trip would not be about me. It would not be about proving to myself or to the group how amazing of a leader I can be. It would be one of self-sacrifice and proving myself to God. It would be one of great trust, self-denial, and survival. It was then I walked into a church and saw my favorite saint friend, Therese of Lisieux. St Therese statues in South America are about as common as St Rose of Lima statues in the United States. One rarely sees them. This would be the only time I would see her the entire trip. She is a saint known for The Little Way. This means doing all things, no matter how small, with great love and sacrifice to glorify the Lord. I took this as confirmation and prayed to her for help to act this way during the trip.

    After a few travel hiccups, we got to Piura and were warmly welcomed by the Santisimo Sacramento Missionary staff. We did many things at the mission that would make anyone feel accomplished. In the five days we were at the mission, we built two homes. Each house only took a day to build, as they were made out of bamboo poles, tin roofs, and weaved-material walls. We fixed bikes and delivered food. One would think that these opportunities, where there is a noticeable, lasting, product of your effort, would add to anyone’s sense of worth. However, seeing the poverty, hearing the begging of the family just a block away that also wanted a house, passing hungry kids wherever you went, or just feeling like there was more to give and you didn’t have anything left; these made me feel overwhelmingly small and insignificant. These are not new feelings or struggles in my life. I am a special-education teacher. I constantly fight situations that are bigger than me and have to accept things out of my control.

    peru3The other service projects we participated in consisted of the simple action of being present to others. Despite the language barrier, the act of sharing or serving meals, having dance, or even sitting next to a child on the swing was just as valuable as the home we built and the food we brought. This was the culture of the Mission and the people we encountered: anything you did, you were expected to do it with or for someone else. When we went to the beach, we took the two families we built homes for and the special-needs students from the school.

    If we went to dinner as a group, we took missionary staff with us, and then our leftovers went to the hungry outside the mission. You gave until you hurt, and then you gave more. You gave what God was then giving through you. Because the things you had didn’t have value, the people you shared it with had value. This was amplified when I was welcomed into the home I had helped to build and spent the night with the family. This family shared their home with us a mere two days after receiving it. This was after four years of sleeping outdoors. The only complaint the mother had was that all of us would not be staying overnight. She wanted us there and wanted to share what she had. My presence had value to her. This wasn’t just because of the house that was given to her. This was a constant theme with whomever we met. The people we encountered accepted us. They saw us the way Christ would see us. It was a celebration of humanity. All of us had worth and were precious in their eyes.

    All in all, the trip was amazing in a way that is truly inexplicable regardless of my feeble attempt. It answered all those questions and doubts I first cried over at the beginning of the trip. What difference could I make? I can make a big difference to a small amount of people. Offering the little I have can be enough to make a big change in a few lives. Can I really lead this group of young adults? Yes, but only by servant leadership, example, and denying myself. Why did God want me here? He wanted me to experience a culture where all people are valued and accepted regardless. He wanted me to see my value in the eyes of a stranger whether or not I had proven myself. Am I enough? No, but God is, I just have to allow Him to work through me.

    Elizabeth Gunther is the Co-Chair of YAM Lake County, a regional young adult ministry of the parishes in the Lake County area of Vicariate I. You can learn more about YAM-Lake County by visiting their website or like them on Facebook.

  • TOT-finale-event

    Cheers to 35 years!

    Cheers to 35 years!  The Young Adult Ministry Office would like to thank all those attended the Theology on Tap Finale!  It was a great afternoon of food, drinks, fellowship, and an opportunity to gather in worship with young adults throughout the diocese.  We were blessed to have Archbishop Cupich as the guest speaker to share his thoughts on “Missionary Discipleship,” and for the time he took to stay for the open forum to address questions.

    The success of the event would not have been possible without the support of our volunteers.  A very big thank you to: Jennifer Delvaux, the Director Faith Formation at Holy Name Cathedral, the young adult volunteers of Holy Name Cathedral; Knights of Columbus for sponsoring our food and beverages, VocaNcion for providing us wonderful music to worship, and last but not least, Archbishop Blase Cupich, Bishop John Manz and Father Brad Zamora for being the celebrants of our closing Theology on Tap Finale Mass!

  • Archbishop-Blase-Cupich-Nancy-Stone-Chicago-Tribune

    Blase Cupich op-ed: Planned Parenthood and the muted humanity of the unborn child

    (Photographed by Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)

     Turn our outrage to support for the vulnerable, born and unborn. -Archbishop Cupich

    Te release of videos of Planned Parenthood physicians discussing the market for tissue harvested in abortions has produced varied and strong reactions, and has, ironically, given us a reason for hope and an opportunity as a nation.

    The tapes have generated a visceral reaction independent of how they were made or whether Planned Parenthood was making a profit. Rather, the widespread revulsion over the tapes arose because they unmasked the fact that, in our public conversation about abortion, we have so muted the humanity of the unborn child that some consider it quite acceptable to speak freely of crushing a child’s skull to preserve valuable body parts and to have that discussion over lunch.

    Yet, the outrage expressed by many at the physicians’ callous and flippant attitude toward trafficking in human body parts is evidence that American hearts have not been irreparably hardened by the steady devaluing of human dignity in our society. This awakening of our conscience gives hope that deep within the hearts and souls of Americans there still resides the truth that an unborn child manifestly is a human being, entitled to rights and respect.

    This newest evidence about the disregard for the value of human life also offers the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment as a nation to a consistent ethic of life. While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.

    The open and generous nature of the American people has the capacity to astonish and push boundaries. We crowdfund, sign petitions, dump buckets of ice on ourselves and embrace new ways of relating to our environment. Can we use our shared outrage at all these affronts to human dignity to unite us and begin a national dialogue on the worth of human life?

    If we create a framework for decision-making that is biased toward life, supportive of families and fair to people of all circumstances, our policies, legislation and commercial decisions will be vastly different. We then can begin to take needed actions and reforms that make a difference in the lives of those who are discarded and considered disposable.

    The nation’s children, families, poor, workers and senior citizens deserve more than lip service. They deserve more than outrage. They deserve real support, protection and solid action.

    And so do we to be true to what is best in us.

    Blase Cupich is the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

    Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune



  • JB

    Looking Back, Giving Forward- Meet the Junior Board of Catholic Charities

    The Junior Board of Catholic Charities is an organization of nearly 500 young professionals committed to promoting the works of Catholic Charities and becoming leaders through effective community action.

    Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago serves over 1 million Chicagoans each year – families, seniors, veterans, refugees, young mothers… anyone who needs help – and the Junior Board collaborates with the programs of Catholic Charities to provide support and personal, compassionate care to those in need.

    Our board is organized into several steering committees which develop programs and events throughout the year varying in size and scope that offer meaningful social opportunities while concurrently providing Catholic Charities programs with volunteer and financial support.

    The goal of our board is to enable younger benefactors to support the programs of Catholic Charities and to develop up-and-coming young leaders in the arena of community service and leadership.  The board is always growing and attracting young, talented professionals in the Chicago area who prove to be fantastic assets to the causes they support, and we are always looking for more exceptional young leaders to collaborate with us in service of our programs. For information on membership, please contact Annie Scully at ascully@catholiccharities.net.

    Annie Scully
    Director of the Junior Board
    Department of Board Relations

  • see-pablo


    I don’t often take the time to go on pilgrimage, and if I happen to visit a shrine or any other holy site it is usually an unplanned coincidence. Although the places I have visited have left a positive impression in my personal faith journey, I have always wanted to make an intentional pilgrimage. Late last year I was invited to accompany the young adults from our volunteer radio and media ministry for Pastoral Juvenil EnREDa-T, to the 2015 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. I was a bit reluctant at first because we were going to drive there, and then I realized this was actually going to be a pilgrimage. This past week, we got in a vehicle and headed west on I-80 towards Los Angeles on a three day long pilgrimage on the open road.

    While on the way I reflected on how difficult it can be to encounter Christ in our daily lives, because I not only wanted to accompany the young adults but I also yearned to encounter Christ. I expected to have the experience as I contemplated with awe the majestic landscapes as we entered Colorado, in the people that hosted us in Denver, or in the beauty of Utah, Arizona and Nevada. However I did not feel like I was experiencing much at a spiritual level. The Religious Education Congress itself was wonderful, and still I did not fulfill my expectations, that is until the mass. During mass the theme of the congress “SEE” impacted me. The homily invited us to practice opening our eyes to an unexpected love, just as the blind man was unexpectedly healed by Jesus. The blind man was encountered by Christ in order so that he could see, not just with his eyes, but also with his heart.

    A pilgrimage on the road is not an easy thing to do and I found myself challenged by my peers to “SEE”. Love is in the details and accepting people as they are can be an extraordinary thing to do. I found that encountering Christ happened when I began to see Him in my road companions, and in their personal stories and journeys. We are an authentic creation and the young adults I was on the road with in many ways were also accompanying me. I come away from this experience realizing in a new concrete way that Christ is in the other, in my neighbor and in the person that journeys with me. I learned that in my life, though not always easy, I need to let myself be loved as much as I like to love. Most importantly I learned not to be afraid of experiencing love. Like the blind man, Christ encountered me.

    During our pilgrimage to the 2015 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, we stopped at the Centro San Juan Diego at the Archdiocese of Denver Colorado. Time was shared with the coordinator of Pastoral Juvenil and a group of young leaders, and later we were given a tour of the Hispanic Ministry services. A young adult married couple with two children gave us a place to stay and in the morning we shared breakfast. It was uplifting to experience that kind of hospitality from people that didn’t know us.

    The 2015 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress has encouraged us to continue to work hard at the Young Adult Ministry Office. We are on our way back to Chicago with excitement to share the knowledge learned.

  • Run for Mission of Our Lady of the Angels… and to grow in your faith!

    Mission of Our Lady of the Angels provides a Catholic presence to the poor on the west side of the city. We feed and provide clothing/ household resources to about 700 families a month, have about 900 at risk youth in afterschool programming each month, run senior citizens program, have a family hot meal program, and much more. Additionally, and most importantly, we provide a presence of prayer in one of the most difficult areas in the city.

    To help raise awareness and support of the Mission and its outreach, we have a marathon team in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (October 11, 2015) as well as a team in the Oak Brook Half Marathon (September 7, 2015)! We are looking for individuals to join our team!! Of specific note is that we have GUARANTEED ENTRIES into the Chicago Marathon; normal entry into the race is via a lotto system because so many people would like to run, so getting a guaranteed entry is a big deal. Please e-mail ASAP at (olamission@gmail.com) if you are interested in a guaranteed entry as they are going fast (please e-mail by April 20th at the very latest)!

    Beyond the guaranteed entry, benefits of joining our team include (if you want it) a training plan written by me, Sr. Stephanie, a 2:53 marathoner and former NCAA D1 cross-country and track athlete, as well as overnight accommodations on race weekend, a pre race Mass/ dinner, t-shirts, and much more! Please check out the marathon team website to learn more.
    Running, as a living metaphor for the Christian life, also provides a means for us to grow deeper in our faith. Running can be a time of prayer or a time of fellowship if you run with others. The inevitable suffering involved with running helps us to better deal with suffering in our own lives as it arises.
    As a running team, Team OLA (the nickname for our team) is making a conscious effort this year to be better aware of how running can help us grow in our faith, especially as young adults. We hope that the running team will be a vehicle for Catholic young adults to meet and create friendships. Running provides a means to grow together in fellowship and friendship. What is cooler than accomplishing goals, like running a marathon, while meeting new people and growing in fellowship with them? Our running team has started to be such a place for young adults around Chicago. Contact me, Sr. Stephanie, at olamission@gmail.com with any questions or to sign up.
    As a young adult myself, I will do my best to help facilitate a Chicago young adult community on our team. To kick this off, I do hope to qualify for the women’s Olympic marathon trials at the Chicago Marathon this year. It will be a stretch; but I think that with the support and prayers of the team, I know it is a definite possibility!

    FOR INFO VISIT www.missionola.com

  • for-yam

    Catholic musicians staying true to the Faith

    Catholic musicians staying true to the Faith

    Artists find mainstream success without compromising Christian principles OSV Newsweekly

    In the beginning, the angry emails came fast and furious.

    What, they asked, were two nice Catholic boys like Alex and Danylo Fedoryka — the founding members of Scythian — doing playing secular music in bars and clubs? Were they afraid of people knowing about their Catholicism? Were they hiding their faith under the proverbial bushel basket?

    “Definitely not,” was the band’s response. They just felt called to do something different with their music.

    “With music, there is truth contained in beauty and goodness,” Danylo explained. “Even if you’re not explicitly talking about Christ, you can still preach Christ.”

    After 1,200 shows and eight albums — their ninth, “Jump at the Sun,” will be released in August — the angry emails have mostly stopped. Playing for Pope Benedict XVI on the main stage at World Youth Day has a way of silencing even the most entrenched critics.

    Faithful artists

    It’s not just Scythian’s success, however, that has made the Catholic musicians’ foray into secular music more palatable. It’s also that such forays have become increasingly common.

    Over the past several years, numerous bands with either openly Christian members or explicitly Christian lyrics have been enjoying varying degrees of commercial success in the secular marketplace.

    At the top of that list are groups with strong Protestant roots such as the Avett Brothers, who played on stage with Bob Dylan at the 2011 Grammys; the husband and wife duo of Karen Berquist and Lindford Detweiler, known as Over The Rhine, whose 2013 release “Meet Me at the Edge of the World” came in near the top of most critics’ album rankings for the year; and, most notably, the British band Mumford & Sons, whose 2012 album “Babel” soared to No. 1 on the Billboard charts within days of its release.

    While Protestants have been out ahead in this new musical moment, several Catholics bands and artists are coming up on their heels.

    There is, for example, the already-mentioned Scythian. Their high-energy performances on banjo, fiddle and accordion — yes, accordion — of Celtic/Eastern European tinged folk-rock have made the band one of the most popular between Washington, D.C., and New York.

    Then there is Mike Mangione & the Union, a Milwaukee-based indie-folk rock band that is almost constantly on tour, as well as the up-and-coming singer-songwriter Kevin Heider, whose third album, “The Spark,” came out last year.

    Show, don’t tell

    Although Heider, Mangione and the members of Scythian — Josef Cosby, Ben-David Warner and Tim Hepburn are the band’s other members — all play at least the occasional Catholic event, none of their music fits easily into the category of Christian music. They don’t write praise and worship songs, nor does their work receive much, if any, airplay on Christian radio.


    With Mangione, his faith comes through in both the themes and lyrics of his songs.

    “In some way, I’m always trying to express the reality of our brokenness and our ability to find redemption,” Mangione said. “Most people wouldn’t classify it as ‘Catholic music’ but in the sense that it deals with these very universal questions of the human heart, it’s very Catholic.”

    Heider’s work is at times more explicitly Catholic. His 2012 single, “The Great Flood,” focused on the graces of baptism and the Eucharist.

    “I don’t ever sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write a Christian song today,’” Heider explained. “I write about what I’ve been thinking or feeling, and because my faith inspires my entire worldview, it inevitably comes out in my music.”

    When it comes to Scythian, the band members’ Catholic Faith comes through more in how they play then in what they play.

    “From the beginning, our desire has been to bring a lightness into the darkly charged environment you find in most clubs and bars,” Danylo Fedoryka said. “Our goal is to change that feeling of darkness into a feeling of joy.

    “What we bring to the table as musicians is that we love everybody because they’re God’s children,” he added. “Recognizing the dignity of the people in our audiences requires us to give them the best show we can give no matter what.”

    ‘Starved for quality’


    That attitude makes a difference. So too does the quality of the artists’ work. The maturity and depth of Heider and Mangione’s songwriting increasingly rivals the depth of industry veterans like Over the Rhine, while Crosby and the Fedoryka brothers’ mastery of their instruments reflects their years of classical training.

    Nevertheless, the popular success these Catholics are enjoying is still remarkable. For that matter, so is the success of the Avett Brothers, with their Bible-soaked tunes, and Mumford & Sons, whose songs are peppered with the words of G.K. Chesterton and St. Julian of Norwich.

    What might account for that success?

    “I think people are starved for quality music,” Danylo Fedoryka said. “There’s been a lot of bad music for a long time, and they’re tired of the overproduced offerings from the music industry. Then, along comes the Avetts and Marcus Mumford, and they’re writing songs with substance, songs that are about more than the latest hookup or partying. They’re talking about things that are real, and people respond to that.”

    Presenting the truth

    “A lot of it goes back to what John Paul II said about everyone having an ache in their heart for God that can’t be silenced,” added Mangione. “People long to hear about these things, but they’ll write off any music that has the Christian label attached to it. When you work these themes into songs in more subtle ways, though, they listen.”

    Which is why these artists do what they do. They use art as a way of presenting truth and beauty to the world at large.

    “Before you can enter into a deeper relationship with someone, you have to get to know them,” Heider said. “The Eucharist is the source and summit, but not everybody understands the Eucharist, and they’re not going to understand the Eucharist until they understand who we are as people. Just writing church songs doesn’t always help with that. There’s more to us than that. So, I look at my music as a way of entering into a conversation with people, telling them about who I am and inviting them to do the same.”

    In effect, what these artists do is the work of the New Evangelization.

    “Our culture is filled with incredible people with incredible potential,” Mangione said. “But they’re constantly bombarded by so many negative messages. That’s why we’re called to go out into the streets and present a different message. That’s our job. Not to be on the outskirts shouting, but to be on the inside showing.”

    Emily Stimpson is an OSV contributing editor.

    – See more at: https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/14738/Catholic-musicians-staying-true-to-the-Faith.aspx#sthash.9xZ2FkJE.dpuf

  • family-congress-article

    Parents – Faces of Love

    II Family Congress will take place from February 6 until February 15 2015 spanning over an entire week devoted to evenings of recollection as well as workshops for married couples, for those preparing to take the sacrament of marriage, for those who desire to deepen their knowledge and spiritual life, as well as for young adults. Recollections and workshops are complemented by cultural and artistic events.

    The II Family Congress under the leading theme ‘Parents – Faces of Love. We Are All Called to Love and Educate’ is organized by the initiative of secular group of professionals from the Foundation Strong Family, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Chicago and with cooperation from the Department of Family Ministry and the Department of Young Adults Ministry. The entire endeavor is under the spiritual tutelage of Fr. Jerzy Karpinski, SJ.

    In anticipation of the Family Synod set to take place in October of 2015 in Rome, Holy Father Francis I encourages all the faithful to reflect on the mystery of family throughout the entire upcoming year. For this reason, the organizing team feels especially motivated to continue preparing the II Family Congress to be an occasion to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of family life in our Archdiocese.

    We all know that the foundation of a happy marriage and a strong and happy family is love between a husband and a wife as well as between parents and children. Happy family is the one in which everyone loves everyone. But to be a responsible parent means to both love and demand. To love and demand is to love and educate the children in order to support their complete development.

    We are all called to love and educate those we love. All of us are called. Not only those who are successful and do not face serious challenges. To love and educate their loved ones are also called those who are damaged and painfully experienced by life, those who went through suffering and a personal way of the cross, and those who were abandoned. All of us can learn what mature love really is from Jesus and therefore all of us can become a blessing to our loved ones.

    During the II Family Congress, the workshops, recollections, and conferences will center on different aspects of love encountered in marriage and family. Love is a special way of relating to another person in a way making that loved person want to live and which makes that loved person find strength to face even the most difficult life situations. The kind of love taught by Jesus manifests itself in care, fidelity, responsibility, perseverance, and continued conversion in order to love our loved ones more and with greater wisdom. To love like Jesus means to be ready to sacrifice one’s life for loved ones. It means treating spouse and children as greatest treasure on this planet. It means becoming a defense for them as well as a witness of God’s love for all men.

    Taking under consideration the complex and rich character of the leading theme, the II Family Congress was divided into five sections in order for everyone to find something that will speak to him or her more directly: prayer, conferences, workshops, symposium and cultural events. The presentations will take place in a number of parishes across Chicagoland and will be carried primarily in Polish but there will also be selections for English speaking participants.

    www.kongresrodzinychicago.org / www.facebook.com/KongresRodziny / tel: 773-414-5461

  • confirmation-fit-pic

    Adult Confirmation Spring 2015


    Chart for Adult Confirmation Spring 2015

    The Adult Confirmation preparation process begins this January. The Archdiocese has several sites throughout the area to accomodate individuals schedules and geographic locations. Confirmation for Fall will be held in late April and early May.

    Adult Confirmation Preparation
    The Adult Confirmation Program in the Archdiocese of Chicago is a collaborative effort between our Bishops, parishes and the Office for Catechesis and the Office for Divine Worship.

    Adult Catholics (ages 18 and older) who have been baptized and received First Communion and are practicing their faith but have not celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation are invited to participate in the program.

    Interested adults must inform a priest, deacon, religious sister or brother, or a lay minister in their home parish that they wish to participate in the program. The candidate will be asked to briefly communicate with their parish minister two times during the process.

    The interested candidate then should register at one of the preparation sites listed on the accompanying chart. Programs are offered in English, Polish and Spanish.

    Most preparation programs meet weekly for one and a half – two hours for eight sessions.
    Most programs charge a registration fee of $75.00, to cover expenses for the program.
    Candidates are asked to bring a copy of their baptismal certificates with them to the program.

    For questions about the Adult Confirmation Program please contact one of the following individuals –

    Clarissa Aljentera – (312) 534-8051 or caljentera@archchicago.org

    Javier Castillo – (312) 534-8032 jacastillo@archchicago.org

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