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Parents miss Mass, kids get ax
NY Daily News ^ | 06.27.05 | NANCY DILLON

Posted on 06/27/2005 1:42:52 PM PDT by Coleus

Parents miss Mass, kids get ax

The pastor of a Staten Island Catholic church is playing holy hardball - kicking hundreds of kids out of religious ed classes because their families aren't showing up at Mass.

The Rev. Michael Cichon, pastor of St. Joseph/St. Thomas in Pleasant Plains, used each family's bar-coded donation envelope to track attendance.

He's tossed about 300 kids from classes and told them not to reapply until next April.

Without the classes, children cannot receive the sacraments, meaning some youngsters who thought they'd be making their First Communion next year will have to wait.

The suspensions, legal under church doctrine, were a shock to many parents with kids enrolled in the 1,400-child program, which caters to kids who don't attend Catholic schools.

"It's hurtful," said Joseph LoPizzo, 38, whose 6-year-old son was booted. "I've been a parishioner at that church for 23 years - longer than he's been the reverend."

LoPizzo said he paid the $150 for his son's Thursday afternoon classes last year, but his father-in-law's illness hampered the family's church attendance.

"I've just never heard of a church kicking you out," complained Lisa Nicol, 36, who got a letter saying her 7-year-old twin daughters had been barred from classes. "They should be more welcoming and sensitive."

The pastor said he suspended kids from the 2005-2006 after-school program because Mass is an "essential" component of the Catholic faith.

The affected families were attending church less than once a month, he said.

Cichon insisted that the move has nothing to do with the lack of a donation.

"There are many families who put absolutely nothing inside the envelopes they submit," he said.

Originally published on June 27, 2005



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; US: New York
KEYWORDS: canonlaw; catholiclist; ccd; children; church; churchattendance; lapsed; mass; nyc; parents; statenisland; whiners
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Years ago, most parents and their children attended mass every Sunday, no excuses.
1 posted on 06/27/2005 1:43:12 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: Coleus

Should this be considered "mass expulsion"? :)


2 posted on 06/27/2005 1:44:37 PM PDT by My2Cents ("In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: Coleus
I'm conflicted on this one.

The parents need to be called out on their disregard of the Third Commandment, but at the same time the kids need to be instructed no matter how slack their folks are.

It's a tough call.

3 posted on 06/27/2005 1:45:46 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Coleus
but his father-in-law's illness hampered the family's church attendance

That works for Protestants but not Catholics. Mass happens all the time.

5 posted on 06/27/2005 1:46:38 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Coleus

What do they do to the non-Catholic pupils?

In our school, the non-Catholic and non-regularly attending (Mass) families pay extra tuition every month. (a substantial amount, imo)

Expelling the kids is going too far, I think.


6 posted on 06/27/2005 1:46:52 PM PDT by vrwcagent0498 (Mark Levin and Ann Coulter are my patron saints.)
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To: Coleus
used each family's bar-coded donation envelope to track attendance.

Technically, that just means they didn't turn in an envelope. They could have been there.

I think this is utterly ridiculous, anyway. What are they going to do, use bouncers to keep out the unwashed?

7 posted on 06/27/2005 1:46:58 PM PDT by FoxInSocks
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To: Coleus
Years ago, most parents and their children attended mass every Sunday, no excuses.

We never attended mass.

Of course, we weren't Catholic, either.

8 posted on 06/27/2005 1:47:16 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: Coleus

Exactly. I'm all for this. (Extenuating circumstances may apply...) But there's no sense in sending a kid to a Catholic school/CCD program if the parents don't want to take the time to set the kind of example the kids should follow. Go to Mass, or send your kids elsewhere. As a private entity, the parish school has the right to expect the parents to fulfil the requirements. One hour a week...hmmm...decisions, decisions.


9 posted on 06/27/2005 1:47:28 PM PDT by redhead (Tune in tomorrow: Same Bat time, same Bat channel...)
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To: Coleus

Don't punish the kids because the parents cannot show.


10 posted on 06/27/2005 1:47:42 PM PDT by FeeinTennessee (www.saluteheroes.org.........www.peoplepolitical.org)
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To: Coleus
I'm failing to see the problem here. Attending Mass is an important part of religious formation and the process of experiencing the Sacraments.

In our parish, they use the envelopes to track attendance, and those who don't make enough Masses lose the tuition discount at the local parochial school.

11 posted on 06/27/2005 1:48:25 PM PDT by Malacoda (*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ! *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*)
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To: Coleus
"It's hurtful," said Joseph LoPizzo, 38, whose 6-year-old son was booted. "I've been a parishioner at that church for 23 years - longer than he's been the reverend."

LoPizzo said he paid the $150 for his son's Thursday afternoon classes last year, but his father-in-law's illness hampered the family's church attendance.

I'm sure everyone can come up with one excuse not to attend Mass but there is always time in one's life to fit God in. Where there is a will there is a way. To Catholics, attending Mass should be of the utmost importance.

12 posted on 06/27/2005 1:48:59 PM PDT by frogjerk
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To: God-n-GeorgeW
"There are many Churches (including mine) which would be happy to teach Sunday School to any and all, not only those who donate."

It looks more like a case of the parents not going to Mass than not donating. Obviously, they have paid the tuition or their kids wouldn't be in the school.

13 posted on 06/27/2005 1:49:01 PM PDT by redhead (Tune in tomorrow: Same Bat time, same Bat channel...)
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To: God-n-GeorgeW

There are many Churches (including mine) which would be happy to teach Sunday School to any and all, not only those who donate. It's biased reporting like this that gives us Christians a bad name.




I teach Sunday School volunatarily, kids and adults come when they can. We don't force them to. Or kick them out if the parents don't show up for church. I don't understand the reasoning behind that.


14 posted on 06/27/2005 1:49:10 PM PDT by FeeinTennessee (www.saluteheroes.org.........www.peoplepolitical.org)
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To: wideawake
I'm pretty conflicted on this one too.

As a side note (and minor digression into half silliness half seriousness) isn't it the God Parents that are charged with making sure the children grow up to be good catholics?
15 posted on 06/27/2005 1:50:09 PM PDT by tfecw (Vote Democrat, It's easier than working)
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To: God-n-GeorgeW
It's biased reporting like this that gives us Christians a bad name.

Wow. Imagine that. Biased reporting, giving christians a bad name.

If I ever saw good reports from the MSM on anything christian, I'd look for something amiss, or wait for the other shoe to drop.

16 posted on 06/27/2005 1:50:30 PM PDT by mountn man (Everyone brings joy into a room. Some when they enter. Others when they leave)
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To: wideawake

It shouldn't be a tough call. You don't punish the children for the mistakes of their parents.


17 posted on 06/27/2005 1:50:41 PM PDT by wmichgrad ("The only difference between what Senator Kennedy said & a bag of excrement is the bag" Rush 3/2/05)
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To: vrwcagent0498
In our school, the non-Catholic and non-regularly attending (Mass) families pay extra tuition every month. (a substantial amount, imo)

This is regarding religious education of Catholics. Why would non-Catholics be affected by this?

18 posted on 06/27/2005 1:50:48 PM PDT by frogjerk
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To: frogjerk
"I've been a parishioner at that church for 23 years - longer than he's been the reverend."

You got to love that quote. I wonder how he would stack up in a 'how many masses have you attended' contest with the reverend. Hah!
19 posted on 06/27/2005 1:52:17 PM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: Coleus

As far as I can see, this is only about CCD classes, and CCD isn't going to do your kid a lick of good if you can't get them to Mass at least once a month. Good on the priest.


20 posted on 06/27/2005 1:52:19 PM PDT by Eepsy
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To: vrwcagent0498
FYI, this is not about a Catholic school.

This is about religious education (what used to be called CCD or Catechism). They are classes to teach the Faith to children.

The classes, or some subset of them, are required for the children to receive First Communion and Confirmation.

21 posted on 06/27/2005 1:52:23 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: Coleus

What happens if the family was on vacation and attended Mass where they were at that time? Or if they were attending Mass at another church nearby? Or if they didn't remember to put an envelope in? What's next - a sign in sheet? What is to stop someone from putting an entire month of envelopes in on one visit(and thus paying their way out of attendance) or having someone else put their envelope in for them? This is ridiculous.


22 posted on 06/27/2005 1:52:44 PM PDT by Heartland Mom (My heroes have always been cowboys.)
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To: Coleus
Its BS. I am Catholic and I purposely don't use the envelopes they send me. Partly paranoia about being tracked, and partly cause I went into a non Catholic church one time and on the bulletin board by church they had a list of people not meeting tithes posted there. While I had not seen it at a Catholic church, well what they don't see cannot be tracked.

I put cash in, when I attend. And no its not every week. This pastor is wrong imo, and my kids and money would find a new home.
23 posted on 06/27/2005 1:53:25 PM PDT by USAFJeeper
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To: Coleus

I'm not Catholic, but I can see the pastor's point. If the parents won't attend mass, then religious education of the children is a waste of time because they won't be attending either. Even when they become old enough to go on their own they will be less likely to attend more than occasionally. Parents must set an example in their children's spiritual lives.


24 posted on 06/27/2005 1:53:38 PM PDT by LWalk18
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To: frogjerk

(In our town, a lot of non-Catholics send their kids to Catholic school because the local public schools are hotbeds of liberal crap. They took a field trip to "PrideFest" downtown.)


25 posted on 06/27/2005 1:53:48 PM PDT by Malacoda (*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ! *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*)
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To: frogjerk

Well to extend that I'm not sure why you can't just leave someone home to take care of the sick and have someone else take the family to mass as well as become -Sorry for my lack of terminology here- one of the people who get qualified to bring communion to the sick.


26 posted on 06/27/2005 1:53:50 PM PDT by tfecw (Vote Democrat, It's easier than working)
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To: tfecw
As a side note (and minor digression into half silliness half seriousness) isn't it the God Parents that are charged with making sure the children grow up to be good catholics?

No. During the baptism the Parents are specifically charged with being the teachers of their children in the Catholic Faith. If the parents are not practicing Catholics they cannot set an example to their children.

27 posted on 06/27/2005 1:54:15 PM PDT by frogjerk
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To: Coleus

Disgusting--visiting the sins and omissions of the parents upon the innocent children.

This is all about money, anyway. Since the priest sex scandals began, revenues have been decreasing every week in most parishes.

These strong-arm tactics will only result in the families leaving the parish of this tyrant and joining another parish, or leaving the RCC altogether. There are many Evangelical churches waiting to welcome these people with open arms--and no hand in their pocket.

Some priests just don't get it.


28 posted on 06/27/2005 1:54:17 PM PDT by Palladin (God Bless America!)
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To: frogjerk

The issue is the (Catholic) kids being expelled from school entirely because of their parents' non-attendance at Mass on Sundays.

Do they only allow Catholic children to be enrolled?

Maybe it's different down South where I live, because there has always been at least 10% non-Catholic students in mine and my son's Catholic schools


29 posted on 06/27/2005 1:54:39 PM PDT by vrwcagent0498 (Mark Levin and Ann Coulter are my patron saints.)
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To: tfecw
Well to extend that I'm not sure why you can't just leave someone home to take care of the sick and have someone else take the family to mass as well as become -Sorry for my lack of terminology here- one of the people who get qualified to bring communion to the sick.

Exactly. Call the rectory and a Eucharistic minister come to your house. They will never refuse you. I think they are called "Extraordinary Ministers".

30 posted on 06/27/2005 1:55:40 PM PDT by frogjerk
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To: Coleus

Our Sister talked about this problem earlier this year. She said that if the Church gives the Sacraments to children whose parents are non-practicing, they're imposing an obligation on the child that he or she is not capable of fulfilling without support from the parents, and that's not fair to the child.


31 posted on 06/27/2005 1:55:41 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Working Class Zero with wall-to-wall carpeting.)
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To: Malacoda

Exactly.

A lot of people send their children to Catholic schools to avoid having to send their children to (God-less, amoral) public schools.


32 posted on 06/27/2005 1:55:43 PM PDT by vrwcagent0498 (Mark Levin and Ann Coulter are my patron saints.)
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To: tfecw
isn't it the God Parents that are charged with making sure the children grow up to be good catholics?

I'm not catholic, but I play one on tv. Whoops, I mean I'm not catholic, but I am Godfather to my buddy's youngest son. The way I've understood it, I'm to make sure that the parents are doing their job raising their kids in the ways of the church. If anything ever happens to the parents, then I'm to personally take charge of my Godsons religious up bringing.

33 posted on 06/27/2005 1:55:52 PM PDT by mountn man (Everyone brings joy into a room. Some when they enter. Others when they leave)
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To: Coleus

Bravo

Bet he got the parents attention. Furthermore, I'll bet they will start attending more and paying more attention in due course.
34 posted on 06/27/2005 1:56:15 PM PDT by TwoDogs
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: Coleus

Cichon is a jackass. Satan himself couldn't have come up with a better plan for chasing people away from the church.


36 posted on 06/27/2005 1:56:32 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: Jeremiah Jr; the-ironically-named-proverbs2; Lijahsbubbe; Squantos; F15Eagle; aculeus; ...
The Rev. Michael Cichon, pastor of St. Joseph/St. Thomas in Pleasant Plains, used each family's bar-coded donation envelope to track attendance.
37 posted on 06/27/2005 1:57:05 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: wideawake
I teach 9th grade religious education at my Catholic parish. Most my students do not go to weekly Sunday Mass because their parents do not bring them.

I talk about the readings from Scripture from Sunday Mass or the sermon and I get blank stares.

I agree with the priest on this one.

If the parents can not take their children to Mass to hear Scripture read and hear the sermon, and expect to "pushed through the system" like a public school to obtain the Sacraments, they should think again.

That lack of parental involvement in Catholic education and participating in the Sacraments have already turned out a few generations of poorly formed Catholics.
38 posted on 06/27/2005 1:57:11 PM PDT by BobCNY
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To: vrwcagent0498
The pastor of a Staten Island Catholic church is playing holy hardball - kicking hundreds of kids out of religious ed classes because their families aren't showing up at Mass..

This is regarding CCD not regular school.

39 posted on 06/27/2005 1:57:21 PM PDT by frogjerk
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To: My2Cents

Should this be considered "mass expulsion"? :) >>

You bet.


40 posted on 06/27/2005 1:57:22 PM PDT by Coleus ("Woe unto him that call evil good and good evil"-- Isaiah 5:20-21)
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To: FeeinTennessee
We Catholics believe that we have an obligation to assist at Mass every Sunday.

This is an important part of the Faith that they are learning in these classes. So, if the parents are rarely showing up for Mass, it doesn't really help reinforce what the kids are learning.

That said, I'm not in a position to say whether or not this pastor made the right call.

41 posted on 06/27/2005 1:57:31 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: B Knotts

Okay, my bad.

Then, I agree with the priest.

When my mom was growing up, there had to be a very good reason why ANY Catholic child was not in a Catholic school. If you couldn't afford it, the Church found a way.


42 posted on 06/27/2005 1:58:04 PM PDT by vrwcagent0498 (Mark Levin and Ann Coulter are my patron saints.)
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To: vrwcagent0498

you aren't getting it. this is NOT about attendance at a Catholic elementary school. it is CCD, which is religion class for kids who attend public school, and which is required for them to be able to receive the sacraments. My kids attend catholic school with noncatholics, but there is no point to having any nonCatholics in a catholic education class.


43 posted on 06/27/2005 1:58:24 PM PDT by xsmommy
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To: Dinsdale
This is'nt regular Catholic school. This is eat the cracker prep. Only Catholics.

I knew the anti-Catholic bigots would not be far behind on this one...

44 posted on 06/27/2005 1:58:29 PM PDT by frogjerk
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To: wideawake

I'm conflicted on this one.
The parents need to be called out on their disregard of the Third Commandment, but at the same time the kids need to be instructed no matter how slack their folks are.

It's a tough call. >>>>

You're right, the kids have souls and brains too, both of which need to be enriched.


45 posted on 06/27/2005 1:58:41 PM PDT by Coleus ("Woe unto him that call evil good and good evil"-- Isaiah 5:20-21)
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To: God-n-GeorgeW

There are many Churches (including mine) which would be happy to teach Sunday School to any and all, not only those who donate. It's biased reporting like this that gives us Christians a bad name. >>

what's biased? the pastor said money was not an issue, attendance at mass was.


46 posted on 06/27/2005 1:59:30 PM PDT by Coleus ("Woe unto him that call evil good and good evil"-- Isaiah 5:20-21)
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To: tfecw
St. Thomas opined in this way:

Every man is bound to fulfil those duties which he has undertaken to perform. Now it has been stated above that godparents take upon themselves the duties of a tutor. Consequently they are bound to watch over their godchildren when there is need for them to do so: for instance when and where children are brought up among unbelievers. But if they are brought up among Catholic Christians, the godparents may well be excused from this responsibility, since it may be presumed that the children will be carefully instructed by their parents. If, however, they perceive in any way that the contrary is the case, they would be bound, as far as they are able, to see to the spiritual welfare of their godchildren.

It would seem that the parents have the primary responsibility.

And, legally speaking, godparents can only intervene so much into their godchildren's raising.

Who knows how many of these parents have already had godparents take them to task and ignored them?

47 posted on 06/27/2005 1:59:35 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: Coleus
This piece is so poorly written that it's hard to tell what's really going on. For instance, early on it mentions that the kids are only being removed from religious ed courses but later on it mentions keeping them out of classes in such a way that one might infer they mean all classes.

Indeed, some posters are terming what happened to be expulsions when that is clearly not the case.

There are several things we need to know on this. First, were the parents informed about the requirement for attending Mass? Yes, I know about "days of obligation" but since the religious classes require a certain level of attendance, that needs to be spelled out as part of the class requirement.

Second, were the parents informed of the attendance tracking via the envelopes' bar coding? If so, were they able to verify their attendance by some other method (ex: what happens if you forget your envelope and just drop cash in the basket)? Could the student just inform a deacon, teacher, or lay assistant that they are there?

Third, if parents were aware of the class requirement, why weren't they making some other arrangements with the priest if family pressures or obligations were interfering with their attendance.

Yeah, the guy running the school is sure playing hardball here (please visit your local Episcopalian Church for extensive softball lessons!) but these parents wailing about having to pay the consequences for their failing to meet their obligations sure isn't evoking much sympathy from this outside observer!
48 posted on 06/27/2005 1:59:41 PM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: Coleus
I have no problem with keeping CINO's from receiving sacraments, whether the transgression is not attending mass, supporting abortion, or some other sufficiently serious matter. I do have a problem with the lazy practice of using donation envelopes as a litmus test. This priest has no idea whther the families are attending mass at other parishes, which would certainly fulfill their obligation. My "home" parish conducts very heterodox services, and I haven't darkened their door for over a year. Some of these families may have similar issues with this parish, and are voting with their feet.
49 posted on 06/27/2005 2:00:17 PM PDT by Luddite Patent Counsel (Theyre digging through all of your files, stealing back your best ideas.)
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To: AppyPappy

That works for Protestants but not Catholics. Mass happens all the time. >>

Right, on saturdays and about 3-4 times on Sundays. I wonder what that dude did for his Father in Law anyway?


50 posted on 06/27/2005 2:00:29 PM PDT by Coleus ("Woe unto him that call evil good and good evil"-- Isaiah 5:20-21)
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