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Weekly update 5/21/2020

May 21, 2020

Novena to the Holy Spirit


FOREWORD The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.


ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT To be recited daily during the Novena On my knees I before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.


PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT To be recited daily during the Novena O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.


The Novena begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday of the 6th Week of Easter, even if the Solemnity of the Ascension is transferred to the 7th Sunday.


FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)


Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give! The Holy Spirit


Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin? Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”


Prayer Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)


Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!


The Gift of Fear The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”


Prayer Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)


Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.


The Gift of Piety The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.


Prayer Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)


Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.


The Gift of Fortitude By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”


Prayer Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)


Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!


The Gift of Knowledge The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”


Prayer Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)


If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.


The Gift of Understanding Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”


Prayer Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)


Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.


The Gift of Counsel The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”


Prayer Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts


EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)


Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!


The Gift of Wisdom Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.


Prayer Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts



NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)


Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen


The Fruits of the Holy Spirit The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.


Prayer Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.


– Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. – Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Letter from Father Sullivan

May 16, 2020

16 May 2010 


“Proclaim a joyful sound and let it be heard; proclaim to the ends of the earth: The Lord has freed his people, alleluia!”  Isaiah 48:20 


Dear Friends, 


 As far as I was concerned, John Paul II was the only pope I hade ever known.  I was just beginning my senior year in high school when Pope Paul VI died, succeeded by Pope John Paul I who reigned for a little over a month, followed by John Paul II.  For it was only in high school that I began to pay any real attention to the importance of the Catholic faith in my life  


I watched on television and followed in the newspaper, together with all the world, as the second conclave in as many months was convening to elect a new Successor to Peter, the Prince of the Apostles and Vicar of Christ on earth. 


On Monday afternoon, October 16, 1978, my last period of the school day was free, so I raced home to watch live coverage from Rome after hearing there was white smoke billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.  Listening all the way on the car radio, I arrived just in time to see Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, come out upon the grand balcony overlooking Saint Peter’s Square for the first time as the new Pope John Paul II.  I was immediately impressed as I learned this young man—one year younger than I am now—a non-Italian, from a Communist country had been chosen by the Cardinals to lead the Church. 


For almost twenty-seven years Pope John Paul II was an important player on the world stage, bringing the message of the Gospel to more people personally than any other preacher in the history of Christianity.  His teaching, as expressed in Papal Encyclicals, Papal Audience talks, Apostolic Exhortations, homilies, promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, canonical rulings and other legislative actions put into place the authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council and set the Church on the path toward the Third Christian Millennium.   And of course, his personal interventions in freeing Poland and Eastern Europe from the clutches of the Soviet Union and his role in bringing down Communism has yet to be fully revealed. 


After my parents, Pope John Paul II has been the most influential person in my life, and most certainly in discerning a vocation to the priesthood.  But above all his teaching, and the power of his personality, and esteem he was held in by so many it was the way he prayed that has influenced me most.  The way he celebrated Mass.  The way he encountered Jesus present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  His filial love and depth of devotion for the Mother of God.  All profound influences in my life as a Christian and ministry as a priest. 


I first met him, up close and personal, at the conclusion of a Wednesday General Audience in November 1994.  On the occasion of Father Jerry Stluka’s Silver Jubilee of Ordination to the Priesthood I had arranged for the two of us to be presented to the Holy Father at the conclusion of the weekly audience.  When introduced to His Holiness, Father Stluka  told the Pope how we had just come to Rome from the Holy Land and everyone we encountered, knowing we would see the Pope in Rome, asked us to tell him the people in the land of  Jesus wanted him to come visit them, to which John Paul replied, “I will go.  I will go.”  

When it came my moment with the Holy Father, overcome with emotion, I could barely utter any words, but Father Stluka, standing at Pope John Paul’s right elbow asked, “When are you going to make Father Sullivan a Monsignor?”  To which the Holy Father replied, patting his right hand on my left shoulder, “He is a very young priest.” 


Monday, May 18th is the centennial of Karol Wojtyla’s birth.  I will commemorate him in the Mass Monday morning and throughout the week his meditations on the mysteries of the rosary will guide our prayer each evening.   


Join me and celebrate the life, ministry, inspiration and holiness of Saint John Paul the Great this week. 

From my heart to yours, in the hearts of Jesus and Mary— 


Peace and blessing, 



Father Sullivan.  

Letter from Catholic Diocese of Columbus

May 16, 2020

May 13, 2020


Dear Friends,


With the anticipation of reestablishing public worship, we must do so in a way that does not irresponsibly place the health of our people in grave danger. We are still learning a lot about the COVID-19 Coronavirus, we have seen its tragic force in the death of so many people. We pray for all those who have died these months as well as for those who mourn. We have also seen heroic efforts by those particularly in the health care field but so many others who in invisible ways have provided for our needs. We are all united in sincere gratitude for the work and the sacrifices of these people.


We also pray for and give thanks for those who have prudently guided us through these difficult times at the national, state, and local levels. In particular, we are grateful for the respect, which the state of Ohio has shown, for our religious rights and liberties. At no point have they disparaged our essential right and duty to worship Almighty God at the sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday and encounter the Risen Lord in the Eucharist. Rather, partnering with our brothers and sisters in the civil order, we prudently decided that though divine worship is an essential activity so also is the protection of the common good and the dignity of human life. The medical and public safety officials have been warning us urgently that gathered assemblies of persons was gravely dangerous to the individuals present and to the common good. Faced with these dangers, we have exercised together our moral responsibility to safeguard human life and to allow the local healthcare systems to manage the care of the sick. This prudential judgment on our part required great sacrifice for all in the Church. You have also sacrificed in various ways these days. For us, as Catholics, the loss of our Sunday gathering for worship is a great sacrifice. You have made these sacrifices in a spirit of extreme charity and I am deeply grateful. These measures we have undertaken together, we are advised, have made a difference. Our plans for reopening need therefore, to respect all those sacrifices in a way that is responsible with care for the well-being of individuals and of the wider community.


As one public official told me, the COVID-19 Coronavirus will be with us for a long time and we need to learn how to live with it. Many of the dangers of gathered assemblies remain. The measures proposed in our guidelines and the work that is being done at the parish level will help to mitigate those dangers to some degree. Cognizant of your many sacrifices, I need to ask patience and flexibility as we begin this process of the return to public worship.


This week some churches are beginning to open for individual prayer. The hours will be limited and subject to the necessities of social distancing. Meanwhile Confessions continue to be available by appointment. During the week of May 25, 2020, some churches will begin to celebrate Weekday Mass publicly under limited circumstances as the Churches are ready. On the weekend of the great Solemnity of Pentecost, May 30/31, 2020, most of our churches will begin the public celebration of Sunday Mass. Please note, many things to which we are accustomed will be different. Schedules will need to be modified for a variety of reasons. Not every Church will be prepared, and some parishes may need to work together. As a matter of fact, since the fall we have been looking at ways that we might need to adjust schedules so that priests and parishes might work together and, in some cases, we may need to do so right away. We also need to leave time to disinfect the churches and we may need to change locations to accommodate some of the larger populations. Parishes are not in competition but rather meeting the individual needs using the guidelines we are implanting. I thank you in advance for your understanding.


All Catholics in the Diocese of Columbus are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass at least through September 13, 2020. Please, if you have any concerns, do not come at this point. In fact, I encourage all to follow the public guidelines here in Ohio as much as possible. If you are in one or more of the “high risk” categories, it is still too early to come out. And, of course, if you are experiencing any signs of illness, you have a serious obligation to stay at home. Given that the obligation is dispensed, individuals who wish to participate at Mass and receive Holy Communion might consider coming at a less crowded time, perhaps during the week. The Cathedral will continue to broadcast Mass each day on St. Gabriel Radio and to stream via our diocesan YouTube channel as will many of our parishes.


We will need to be flexible with last minute changes to schedules, and further changes may be necessary even after we begin. Out of care for you, the priest is subject to the same obligation not to offer Mass if he is showing even the slightest signs of not feeling well. No one is required to receive Holy Communion and the reception of Holy Communion on the hand is strongly encouraged. Please be respectful of the guidelines for social distancing and please understand that when the Church has reached capacity allowed for health and safety reasons, we cannot admit any more people under any circumstance.



Please take the time to read carefully the accompanying guidelines. And most of all, please pray. Pray for me, for your parish priests and the teams with whom they are working to prepare for the return to public worship. These days the Gospels take us spiritually to the table of Jesus with his Apostles on the night of the Last Supper. Reading these chapters little by little (John chapters 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17) might be a good spiritual preparation. And know that I pray for you with gratitude every day.


Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.


Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan Bishop of Columbus

Celebrating Our Lady of Fatima

May 12, 2020

Celebrating Our Lady of Fatima 

Join us tomorrow as we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima.  The day will begin with Mass at 10 am livestreamed on our parish Facebook page from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church.  It will continue with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from the window of Father Sullivan’s office in the Parish Center and conclude with the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary live streamed at 7 pm. 


Our Lady asked the shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to pray the rosary everyday for peace and to make sacrifices for sinners.  Join us as we fulfill Mary’s request on the 103rd anniversary of her first appearance in Fatima. 


“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the pathway that leads you to God.”  Our Lady to the Pastorhinos (little shepherds in Portuguese)


An Examination of Conscience Based on the Seven Deadly Sins

May 11, 2020

An Examination of Conscience Based on the Seven Deadly Sins

(based on an examination from My Catholic Life!)


Pride: “Pride is an untrue opinion of ourselves, an untrue idea of what we are not.” Have I a

superior attitude in thinking, or speaking or acting? Am I snobbish? Have I offensive, haughty

ways of acting or carrying myself? Do I hold myself above others? Do I demand

recognition? Do I desire to be always first? Do I seek advice? Am I ready to accept advice?

Am I in any sense a “bully”? Am I inclined to be “bossy”? Do I speak ill of others? Have I lied

about others? Do I make known the faults of others? Do I seek to place the blame on others,

excusing myself? Is there anyone to whom I refuse to speak? Is there anyone to whom I have

not spoken for a long time? Am I prone to argue? Am I offensive in my arguments? Have I a

superior “know-it-all attitude” in arguments? Am I self-conscious? Am I sensitive? Am I

easily wounded?


Envy: “Envy is a sadness which we feel, on account of the good that happens to our

neighbor.” Do I feel sad at the prosperity of others? At their success in game

s? In athletics? Do I rejoice at their failures? Do I envy the riches of others?


Sloth: “Sloth is a kind of cowardice and disgust, which makes us neglect and omit our duties,

rather than to discipline ourselves.” Have I an inordinate love of rest, neglecting my

duties? Do I act lazily? Am I too fond of rest? Do I take lazy positions in answering prayers?

Do I kneel in a lounging way? Do I delight in idle conversation? Do I fail to be fervent in the

service of God?


Lust: “Lust is the love of the pleasures that are contrary to purity.” Have I desired or done

impure things? Have I taken pleasure in entertaining impure thoughts or desires? Have I read

impure material, listened to music with impure lyrics, or looked at impure images, whether in

photos or on television or in movies/videos or on the internet? Have I aroused sexual desire

in myself or another by impure kissing, embracing, or touching? Have I committed impure

actions alone? Do I dress immodestly or am I too concerned with the way I look? Do I use

vulgar language or tell or listen to impure jokes or stories? Have I given into sexual desires

(e.g. fornication, adultery) even in my imagination? Have I had sexual relations with a person

outside of marriage? Have I participated in sexual activity with persons of the same-sex?


Covetousness: “Covetousness is a disordered love of the goods of this world.” Do I dispose of

my money properly or selfishly? Do I discharge my duties in justice to my fellow man? Do I

discharge my duties in justice to the Church?


Gluttony: “Gluttony is a disordered love of eating and drinking.” Do I eat to live or live to

eat? Do I drink to excess? Do I get drunk? Do I misuse prescription drugs? Do I use illegal

drugs? Have I allowed myself to become addicted to alcohol and/or drugs?


Anger: “An emotion of the soul, which leads us violently to repel whatever hurts or displeases

us.” Am I prone to anger? Does practically any little thing arouse my temper? Am I what is

generally termed “a sore-head”? Do I fail to repress the first signs of anger? Do I fail to get

along well with everybody? Do I ponder over slights or injuries and even presume them? Do I

rejoice at the misfortunes of others? Do I think of means of revenge? Of “getting even”? Am I

of an argumentative disposition? Have I a spirit of contradiction? Am I given to ridicule of

persons, places, or things? Am I hard to get along with? Do I carry grudges, remain “on the

outs” with anyone? Do I talk about the faults of others? Do I reveal the faults or defects of

others? Do I reveal the faults of others from the wrong motive?


"Three things are necessary for the salvation of man:

to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire;

and to know what he ought to do." -- Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church  •  144 N. 5th Street  •  Zanesville, OH 43701-3506  •  740-453-3301  •
Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church  •  144 N. 5th Street  •  Zanesville, OH 43701-3506

740-453-3301  •

Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

144 N. 5th Street  •  Zanesville, OH 43701-3506


© 2020   Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church
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