Christ is truly risen!

An Easter Greeting to you all! Christ is Risen!

As many of you may know, on the weekend of the 18th and 19th of April we will be holding our annual Boston Catholic Men’s and Women’s Conferences at Boston College’s Conte Center. This is our first time in this venue and we are looking forward to having a good group this year.


This year our conferences coincide with the Holy Father’s visit to the United States. In addition to the 3,000 Boston pilgrims who are traveling to see the Holy Father in New York, we expect several thousand others to participate in the Men’s and Women’s Conferences.

One of the wonderful outcomes of these conferences has been the formation of men’s and women’s groups in our parishes. We are anxious to promote this opportunity for people to come together and experience their faith in a very vibrant way.

The conferences are an opportunity for people to reach out and invite friends and neighbors to be a part of the Church or for wives to invite their husbands and vice versa. This is a very fitting opportunity to fulfill our role as evangelizers and witnesses of the resurrection.

I would like to express my gratitude to the parish captains and all those who are working diligently to organize and promote the conferences and we look forward to another successful year in the Boston’s Men’s and Women’s Conferences. I certainly encourage you to check out their web site.

– – –

I try to meet regularly with the priests ordained in the last 5 years in what we refer to as the “Jesu Caritas” group. We have an hour of Eucharistic adoration, have a meal and share conversations on priestly spirituality, ministry and the spiritual life of the priest.

Our most recent meeting was held last week at St. Patrick Parish in Watertown and a good number of the priests were able to join us.


We always have very lively and varied discussions, and in this last gathering we talked about the Pew study on religion in America and the challenges of passing on the faith in a secular culture. It was very interesting to hear all their perspectives on the issue.


– – –

Last week, Father David Michael brought a group of Jewish high school students from the Gann Academy in Waltham to the Mass in which we commemorated the life of St. Patrick March 17. I was very pleased to see the Jewish youth there.


I told them that corn beef and cabbage is the Irish Seder meal. I was also pleased that they were exposed to a religious aspect of St. Patrick’s Day, which unfortunately in the United States presented as simply high kitsch.

The students were accompanied by Rabbi Bard, who after the event sent Father Michael a message thanking us for the welcoming. Here is an excerpt of that message:

“We want to thank the Cardinal, the staff at the church and yourself for the wonderful learning experiences shared on Monday of this week. We especially appreciated your personal touch and your ability to traverse the distances between Christianity and Judaism. Your comments combined a certain gracefulness and clarity. In fact, I have a feeling it wasn’t so much what you said, but how you said it, that had the greatest impact on the students.”

– – –

On Holy Thursday I went to St. Joseph Parish in Holbrook for lunch and prayer with a group of priests including Bishop John Dooher. Throughout the archdiocese, many groups of priests come together on Holy Thursday for prayer and a meal marking the institution of the priesthood and promoting a spirit of fraternity among our priests. Last year I was happy to be at Father Jim Ronan’s parish, St. Mary – St. Catherine of Siena in Charlestown, and this year I was the guest of Father Ed Riley at his parish.


– – –

In the evening, I celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Cathedral, which is, for me, one of the most beautiful celebrations of the year.

Unfortunately, I think many Catholics are very focused on Good Friday and Easter Sunday and forget the institution of the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our spiritual life as Catholics. We gather as an Eucharistic people and Christ chose to institute the Eucharist in the context of a seder meal with his disciples.

It was on that night that he washed the feet of his disciples and gave us the commandment of “love one another”, as he has loved us. He says farewell but at the same time gives us the Eucharist to assure us that he will be with us — always and everywhere — through the sacrament.


Washing the feet of parishioners is a very important element
of the Holy Thursday liturgy


As at other churches, following the Mass the Eucharist is removed to an altar of repose where it may be adored.



Removing the Eucharist after the Mass

In our case, the Blessed Sacrament resided in the chapel of the cathedral. It was a beautiful Eucharistic vigil. Many of our seminarians were there as they were observing the custom of visiting the altars of repose of seven churches during the evening of Holy Thursday. The chapel was also filled with students from Boston University and Northeastern University. I suspect that these young people were doing the same and that they came to the cathedral as their last stop.

It was a very beautiful experience and we ended with Compline at midnight.

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On Good Friday we had two services at the cathedral, one in the afternoon in English and one in the evening in Spanish.


At the beginning of the Good Friday liturgy the priests and the deacons
prostrate in front of the altar


“Look at the tree of the cross, where the salvation of the world was nailed.”




Following the evening service I led the procession of the Stations of the Cross through the neighborhood, particularly in the housing project where so many of our parishioners live. Sister Tanya and Father Carlos did a fine job organizing that and I thank them for their efforts.


It was a very cold night





We had a very good crowd including many young people. We sang all the traditional Good Friday Spanish songs like “Perdon Señor, perdon” and “Perdona a tu pueblo Señor.”

– – –

Saturday we had the Easter Vigil and it was our great joy to receive five people into the Church — three of them through the Sacrament of Baptism.

It was, as it is every year, a beautiful celebration. The cathedral was magnificently prepared by Sal and Marie DiDomenico and Ted Fiori who work so hard with the decorations and the preparations. And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful work of the choir led by Leo Abbott as well as the Spanish choir.




Certainly, the Easter Vigil with the blessing of the fire and baptismal water and the many readings taken from salvation history is really the highpoint of the liturgical year.


Blessed Charlie Rodriguez (who was a Puerto Rican layman) based his whole spirituality on the Easter Vigil. It really is the apex of our spiritual journey throughout the year.

In the Latin Rite we tend to be very focused on Lent and the cross. The Eastern churches — the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church — give stress to the Easter Season. I certainly think we need to stress more the Easter part our liturgical year. It doesn’t all end with Lent. Lent is merely the preface to our celebration of the resurrection of the Lord.

I was happy that we televise these liturgies in Boston through CatholicTV. Many Catholics have never been to an Easter Vigil — they go to church on Sunday morning —and yet we’d like as many people as possible to experience the beauty of the Vigil.

I want to share with you my homily:


My dear brothers and sisters, a very blessed and joyful Easter to all.

Many years ago as a young priest working at the Centro Católico one Friday afternoon, I got a call from the immigration department and they said, “Father, we’re sending someone over to you who is asking for political asylum. They’re on a diplomatic mission from Romania, and we have no place to put him so would you take care of him?”

The man came and I was very impressed by him. He was supposed to come to the World Bank for a couple of days and immediately asked for political asylum. It was a big step for him, his whole family was back in Romania. I asked him why he had decided to do that and he said it was because, in his own country, it was becoming increasingly more and more difficult for him to receive the sacraments. I said, “Is there much faith left among the people?” And he said, “well you know, in our part of the world during this Easter season, the traditional way of greeting each other, instead of good morning or good evening, we say, ‘Christ is risen!’ And the answer comes back, ‘He is truly risen.’” He said, “I worked in the central governments offices there and these days as you walk down the hall you hear people greeting each other, they say, ‘The comrade has returned!’ And they answer, yes, he is really back!’”


Blessing the water before baptism

Well, we are here tonight because the Comrade has returned. He is alive. The mystery of Easter we express in these wonderful symbols of this liturgy, the light, the water, the new song of Alleluia. Each of us in our baptism was given a candle, as our newly baptized will receive tonight. We are told to keep that candle burning brightly by a life of faith, fidelity, and service.

It is the light of Christ that we are given. The symbol of water that we celebrate with here tonight when we bless in the Eucharist is so essential for life. There can be no life without water. And yet we know that in baptism, the water that flows from the side of Christ and through the entire church like a mighty stream and gladdens the city of God is more precious that any water that the earth gives us. We bathe in the stream and we are reborn. It alone transforms the wilderness of our world into a fruitful oasis. The Alleluia is the new song during Lent. We do not sing the Alleluia. It reappears with the Easter Joy. Sin and death, our greatest enemies, have been conquered, our Redeemer lives, every tear has been wiped away. The joy of Easter finds its expression in the joyful song of Alleluia.


The Easter story is not a fairytale or a myth, or a legend, it is the history of our family. It is our history. We need to penetrate its meaning so that we can understand who we are, what life is about. Why we’re here and what we need to do with our lives.

Easter is not new information. It is good news. Jesus came into the world to be one of us. To die and to rise. During his public ministry, Jesus predicted what would happen in His death and resurrection. But when it happened, the apostles and disciples were in shock. They found the empty tomb with the shroud. Later, Jesus appears to the holy women, and to the apostles. As Saint Paul recounts, “He appeared then to more than 500 brethren at one time. He appeared to James, to all the apostles and last of all to one born out of time, He appeared to me.”


Jesus’ resurrection was not just a matter of resuming the life that He had enjoyed before. His resurrection brought Him back in a glorified and an eternal body. He could eat and He could drink. He was not a ghost, but at the same time, He could walk through closed doors, He appeared and disappeared. He used this Easter season to teach us that He is to be present in a new way. Through His word, through his Sacraments and through His church.


In Easter apparitions, Jesus speaks about the Sacraments. On Easter day, He appears to His apostles and breathes on them and says “Receive the Holy Spirit, who’s sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them.” He speaks to us of confession.

When He appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they recognize Him in the breaking of the break, the Eucharist. Their hearts burned within them, as they heard His words.

And before His ascension to the right hand of the Father, He commissions his disciples and says “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Yes, the risen Lord is now present everywhere and always, where ever His Sacraments are celebrated, His word is proclaimed, or where two or three are gathered in His name.


The last apparition of Jesus in the New Testament is in the Acts of the Apostles. The risen Lord, after His ascension, makes one more appearance, on the Road to Damascus where Saul, later Paul, is in hot pursuit of the Christians. Saul is searching them out to arrest them and prosecute them. And suddenly, the risen Lord appears and says “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And Saul says, “Who are you?” And Christ answers, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute.” In other words, if you persecute the Church, you persecute Christ. Jesus is one with His Church. Later on, when Paul writes his epistles, he talks about the Church as the Body of Christ. He is our head, we are the body. We are one with Him. Our Easter joy is based on the fact that Jesus is alive. Our redeemer lives and because He is alive, our Sacraments are real. And the community of the Church forms His body.


But knowing the resurrection brings with it a responsibility. In the Gospel, we see how those who found the empty tomb or who had an encounter with the risen Lord were given a mission. Knowledge brings with it responsibilities. If we know the risen Lord, we know that He wants us to be His witnesses, to announce to the world the Good News. We do that by following Him in the way that we live our lives, so that our lives will be an invitation to others to be Jesus’ friends and disciples.


One of the first ways we begin to fulfill that mission is by living the Commandments, to keep Holy the Lord’s day. The Lord’s day is Sunday. Each Sunday is a little celebration of Easter. As part of a worshiping community, we are building up the Body of Christ and laying the foundations for a civilization of love.

We are an Easter people. But it is when we gather for the Sacraments with the community of the risen Lord that we find the strength and the direction so that we can follow the Lord and make His presence felt in our world.

Tonight it is such a joy to welcome our new Catholics in our midst. We will all renew our baptismal vows together with you and pledge ourselves to be faithful Catholics, a missionary and welcoming community where you will find a spiritual home. We Catholics are one billion in the world today. We come in all sizes, shapes and colors and speaking every language imaginable. Tonight, we are so happy that over 500 are being baptized in the churches throughout the Archdiocese, being received into our Catholic community. We welcome you aboard and we thank you for accepting the Grace to become our brothers and sisters in the household of the faith, the Catholic Church. May you walk always in that newness of life that is the joy of Easter. God bless you.

– – –

On Easter Sunday morning, I traveled to the studios of WHDH Channel 7 for our traditional Easter Sunday televised Mass.



Father Robert Reed, director of CatholicTV

The television Mass gives those who are unable to make it to church the opportunity to share in the liturgy with us. We are all very grateful to Father Bob Reed and Jay Fadden of CatholicTV for the great ministry they do.

Happy Easter!

Cardinal Seán

29 thoughts on “Christ is truly risen!”

  1. This week, the part of the blog I found most interesing was the part about The Boston Catholic Women’s and Men’s Conferences of 2008. I had never heard about this until I read the blog. I found it interesting. It would be something I would like to enjoy sometime. Once again I learned something new on Cardinal Seans blog.
    Caroline St.Paul School

  2. I found this weeks blog especially interesting on the part about the Easter Triduum. I attended every mass except, unfortunately, the Easter vigil, which seemed to be very interesting. I wish all who are starting their lifelong journey in the Catholic faith, Good Luck!!! Please keep in your prayers, St. Pauls Schools’ secretary, Mrs. Cushing who has passed away.
    Looking forward to the next blog.
    God Bless!

  3. Resurrexit from Aiea, HI … and much Aloha

    Ours is a Capuchin Franciscan parish and we do love and appreciate our pastors. I just wanted to tell you that whenever I find a homily of yours posted, I share it with our pastor … “a word from a Capuchn.” I think he uses it as a meditation and he always finds it satiisfying.

    Pace e bene ..

  4. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I want to congratulate you for your excellent memory: you still remember after 30 years the story I told you when I came to the Centro Catholico as a Romanian refugee. I would offer the following reflection to this story you incorporated in your Easter vigil sermon: People oppressed by the Communists kept their faith and after the fall of Communism the various churches reemerged stronger than ever.

    A few data regarding this: in the Soviet Union the Communists killed thousands of priests and bishops, and closed thousands of churches. In 1940 there were only 500 active parishes. Today, less than 20 years after the fall of Communism, there are 16,000 parishes. A true Resurrection!



  5. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    This week’s blog really interested me. I still can’t picture in my head that people who are older than I can get baptized. Even when we have learned about it in Religion class. I think it is just me that when people say baptisim I think infant or baby. But now that I have read your blog and put it together with my religion book I can get a better grasp on the concept. Not only do your words help me visulize it but the pictures also help me too!

    ~Please keep Mrs. Mary Ann Cushing in your prayers she was our secretary at St. Paul School in Hingham. She passed away on Saturday March 29.~

    Thank you and I look forward to your next blog!
    ——Caroline———-A student from Saint Paul School In Hingham——-

  6. It is great that five new people were brought into our faith on Saturday. You are right when you write that the Easter Vigil is the highpoint of the liturgical year. So many important things to our faith happen on that day. New people are brought into the communion of saints, and the blessing of fire takes place as well as the blessing of the baptismal water. Of course, the most important thing of all happens the next day, when Jesus defeats death and opens the gates of heaven. You wrote that Easter is not a fairytale or a myth. You were certainly right. It is the center of our lives.

  7. I thought the fact that Cardinal Sean brought Jewish students in to learn about the Irish Seder meal- corned beef and cabbage- was awesome. I think that our faiths are different; yet, we all believe in one God. I enjoy the fact that people with different faiths can realize that they do have something in common spiritually. I respect Cardinal Sean for continuously getting involved with younger people such as the students from BU and North Eastern. He has a way of getting all ages together to work in their community and their religion as spiritual young adults. He makes it seem interesting and fun. The way he chose to celebrate the Easter season was great. The fact that it is “good news”, Jesus’ resurrection and that he is present with us today and that he is our head and that we are his body is incredible. We all should try harder to live by his commandments.

  8. Cardinal Sean

    What another terrific blog! I loved this blog. I really enjoyed reaing about the washing of the feet. It was very interesting, mostly becasue in school we have been learning about this time around Easter. I find it wonderful that the priest washes the feet of some of the people attending mass. This is a very nice blog once again, thank you for these blogs every week we really appreciate them Cardinal Sean!

    St. Paul School

  9. Cardinal Sean’s new blog is a very informative one. It mentioned everything that happens during this Easter Time. At the bottom of the blog is something important. Masses on television give those who are not able to leave their home, or those who cannot get their transportation wise an opportunity to enjoy a mass. I have watched part of one once, and it is a nice thing to be able to see. You are able to connect with Christ in a different way. I hope masses that are viewed through television stay on for a long time!!!

    7th grader from St. Paul School,
    Hingham Massachusetts

  10. I think Cardinal Sean made a very good point when he said that many Catholics are focused on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, rather than on Holy Thursday.
    I think people are focused on planning on what they are going to eat, or what they are going to wear on Easter Sunday. People should be thinking of how christ instituted the Eucharist.
    That is what we celebrate about on Sunday! I think as Catholics, we should be more aware of Holy Thursday, and never forget it.
    -Crc, A St. Paul Student

  11. Hi I am from St.Paul School in Hingham and I think it is great that you have this blog. I think it is great that you take time to go to places like on Holy Thursday you went to St. Joseph Parish in Holbrook. I never knew that on Holy Thursday Jesus made the love your neighbor commandment. Keep up the good work with the blog because I have learned a lot.

  12. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I attend St. Paul School in Hingham, Massachusetts. I thought this week’s blog was tremendous. The part I enjoyed most was the part about the Easter Vigil Mass, it sounded very interesting. I thought it was great how you recieved five new people into the Church. At my church in Scituate we recieved two new people. I also thought the pictures of the Easter Vigil Mass were great too, it taught me a lot about what happens during the mass. I enjoyed this weeks blog a ton and I hope that you keep writing them.

  13. Hello, this is Susie from Saint Paul School Hingham.
    In your blog this week I really liked that you wrote about what you did during Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. I really enjoyed seeing the ways that you celebrate those holy days. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog!


  14. The Easter Sunday Mass on TV is the idea that really caught my attention. I think it’s a great thing because it allows people to watch the mass from their house, since not everyone can make to the mass at their church. Some people are very sick, or don’t have a way to get to mass because they are hurt, but they can still enjoy the mass. They deserve to hear you speak about Jesus and everything he has done for us, on this extra special day for all Catholics. Everyone needs to have a convient way to watch and rejoice in Christ’s presence and enjoy the Mass. That is just what this allows every single person to do just that.

  15. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I go to St.Paul School in Hingham. We learn a lot about the sacraments here.What I like about your blog is how on the Easter Vigil people joined the church. It is so great to spread the good news and to welcome people into the church! This is really what God wanted us to do,we have to tell others the good news of Christ.

  16. In this week’s blog I took an interest in reading about the section on the Easter Vigil service. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this year, but I think it would have been a very interesting experience to watch new Catholics being baptized into our faith, and begin their mission in serving God. I also observed the brief section on how the Easter season doesn’t end with Lent and how we must continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. I noticed this because our pastor at St. Paul School had been recently stressing this point during our morning prayers. I can’t wait until the next blog and I hope to learn more from it!

  17. This was a very excellent blog. I enjoyed reading about many different events going on in the church. My favorite part was about the Men’s and Women’s Conferences at Boston College’s Conte Center. I found it interesting to read because I had never heard about it before. I can’t
    believe that more than 3,000 people go to this event! The outcome for this program is unbelievable. I love how when people spread the word, good things happen such as more people being welcomed into the church. Also, we have experienced a very sad event at our school when our
    beloved secretary Mary Ann Cushing passed away last Saturday. Please keep her and her family in your prayers

  18. Hello, My name is Christopher and I am a Seventh Grade student at Saint Paul School in Hingham, Massachusetts.
    I think that it is very interesting that you have two services, one in English and another one in Spanish. It was also very intersting that “Mirad el arbol de la cruz donde estuvo clavada la salvacion del mundo” means “Look at the tree of the cross, where the salvation of the world was nailed.” It was also interesting, that even on such a cold night, people of the same faith all worked together and sang traditional Spanish songs such as “Perdon Señor, perdon” and “Perdona a tu pueblo Señor.” This is a very interesting blog that is extremely interesting and should be spread throughout the world to tell others how the Catholic Faith works.


  19. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I am very interested in your blog this week. I loved all of the photographs, especially the one of the Channel 7 televised Mass. Although I did not watch the Mass, I am sure that it was fabulous. I will be sure to tune in next year. I hope that you had a good and holy Easter. Recently, our secretary at St. Paul School went home to God. Please offer your prayers for her and her family. Thank you very much for your blog this week. GBY!
    Caroline K.

  20. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I really like your blog. The teens in our youth group say that it makes a big difference that a Cardinal seems so accessible. We will pray for you and your intentions every day.

    Mike Nungesser

  21. Hello, my name is Hugh; I attend St.Paul’s school. I thought this week’s blog was great to read because it talked about what Cardinal Sean did, around Holy Week. I thought the idea of The Jesus Caritas Group” was very interesting. I was delighted to see Father Chris, who is one of the priests from my school’s parish. Can’t wait for next week’s blog, happy spring.

  22. No comment on the liturgy. I would like to know what is being done for World Youth Day scheduled this summer, I believe, in Sydney, Australia.

  23. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I think it is really spectacular that you got to do the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. It must be fun to wash the parishoners’ feet. They must be so greatful that you came to thier church to do the mass. At St. Paul School in Hingham MA, we are learning about the Holy Triduum and Easter. It is very fascinating to learn about Jesus and his Resurection. Thank you for another outstanding blog!
    I hope you had a Happy Easter!

  24. Cardinal Sean,
    I enjoyed reading your Easter Homily !

    Happy Easter !

    John Riley,M.A.,M.Div.

  25. your eminence,
    in response to your implementing of the “TAT” program in all Religious ED. classes, I would urge you to DISCOURAGE this program. As a devout Catholic, I, and others, find this program to be evil. We do not want our children at very young and tender ages to be taught about sexual abuse, causing very disturbing out comes. we find this program in and of itself to be such abuse.
    I ask very humbly for the removal of this program. I have tried to contact you in more discreet ways than this, but i have not had an answer or response from anybody in the Archdiocese. I have found no other way to contact you than this, which I know is very public, but have come to the conclusion that there is no other way to receive a response from you.
    Please find time to contact either I or Fr. Mullen of St. Brendan’s Parish, with whom i know you are familiar with, to discuss this issue.
    Thank you and God bless,

  26. Querido Padre Sean. Happy Easter and happy second anniversary of being our dear Cardinal in Christ’s Church! Priests like you are the Communion priests that our Lord needs in today’s World to gather us in His Life of grace and in His Temple. Even though most of us never have the chance to see you in person, you are truly Christ servant in our midst reaching Christ’s people beyond Boston, Massachusetts in that Communion of Saints that He wants us to belong in His Church. Through your Blog and through BCTV you are giving us Himself who is Risen and who has made you to be our Padre Sean, a truly Catholic Priest and a simple Friar who continue to feed Christ’s sheep with Christ Himself, giving us Christ in all of your homilies that are for us His true teaching of that abundant Life that He alone could give.

    We love you very much Padre Sean and love all your people in Massachusetts. All of you are enriching our lives with what you are doing for the Lord and for the Church. We want you to know that we followed Holy Week with all of you thanks to Father Robert Reed and all his staff in BCTV. We love the words and the singing of the Deacon at the Holy Cross Cathedral of the Easter Proclamation……. “This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave. What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?…….May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Start, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.”

  27. Good Evening Your Eminenece. I find it so refreshing to read your post, which I do reguarly. Your Eminence, why do we consume the Eucharist on Good Friday?.

    In closing be assured of my prayers and support for you and your family, the Bishops, Priests and your entire Archdiocese as we journey through this very Holy and Solemn Easter Season

    Fraternally Yours in Christ

    Micheal Wimbs
    Guardian Angels Parish, Archdiocese of Toronto Canada

  28. Reading the words of your Easter Vigil homily has truly touched me. I am so lucky to reside within an Archdiocese that brings together so many to the words of truth that is Jesus Christ. I wanted to add a personal thank you to Fr. Reed who spoke at Theology on Tap in Quincy this past Wednesday night and certainly helped show the true meaning of what it is to be a Catholic in Boston to the young adults who were able to make it. This Boston young adult Catholic is also looking forward to your celebrating Mass at the Boston Eucharistic Congress tomorrow March 29, 2008 at St. Stephens Church. You have truly been a blessing to this Archdiocese since you have come to lead us in our adorations of Christ and the Eucharist.

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March 2008