• The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
  • The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
  • The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
  • The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
  • The Society for the Propagation of the Faith
  • The Society for the Propagation of the Faith

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Declared "Venerable"

 

On June 28, 2012 the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI has approved the heroic virtues of U.S. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen clearing the way for the advancement of his sainthood cause. Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies noted, “As head of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966, the Venerable Fulton Sheen was heroic in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ far and wide – from Peoria to Pretoria; New York to New Delhi. He teaches us still that the Church is missionary by her very nature.”

Read the CNS Story

World Mission Rosary

 

In February of 1951, Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966), in a radio address (The Catholic Hour), inaugurated a World Mission Rosary. "We must pray, and not for ourselves, but for the world. To this end, I have designed the World Mission Rosary." Praying this Rosary, Archbishop Sheen said, would "aid the Holy Father and his Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor mission territories of the world."

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Faithful Witness PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
Faithful Witness
News from the Archbishop Sheen Foundation
Celebrating Venerable Archbishop Sheen's Birthday - May 8th
National Director for the Propagation of the Faith (1950-1966)
Founder of Mission Magazine
An Anniversary for a Bishop - June 11, 1951
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and the Holliger Family
Venerable Archbishop Sheen and the Missions - on Television
Venerable Archbishop Sheen and Easter: Hope for the Poor
Venerable Archbishop Sheen and Easter: Questions & Answers
Venerable Archbishop Sheen and Easter: Hope in the Risen Jesus
Venerable Archbishop Sheen, The Holy Hour and the Holy Spirit
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and the Holy Spirit
Road to Sainthood
St. Thérèse and Fulton Sheen
Embracing the World in Prayer
All Pages

Faithful Witness

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, now “Venerable,” was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies, from 1950 to 1966.

He clearly and effectively communicated the Catholic Church’s message and mission on radio and television, as well as through his books and other writings. He presented the inspiring stories of the Missions and told of the love and joy of those serving the poor in those areas of the world.

“Faithful Witness,” a production of the Pontifical Mission Societies airing now on Catholic radio stations throughout the United States (check your local listings), looks at the life of Archbishop Sheen and his great love for the Church, for family and for the Missions. His story, as told by those who knew him, can help us draw closer to God – as he tried to do each day of his life – and encourage our own daily faithful witness in a world so in need of God’s love and mercy.

Here are some “vignettes” from this audio documentary:

 

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Archbishop Fulton Sheen on a mission visit to Africa when he was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

 


News from the Archbishop Sheen Foundation

 

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, right at the very start of the Lenten Season, there was the announcement of the approval of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

By unanimous approval of the 7-member board of medical experts advising the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican, the case of a still born baby making a miraculous recovery has been attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Sheen, once National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (1951-1966).  The announcement came from the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, Archbishop Sheen’s home diocese which is leading the cause for his canonization. The team of medical experts found no natural explanation for the child’s healing and restoration to life after 61 minutes other than the prayers of the family to Archbishop Sheen. The baby is now 3 years old and in good health.

This approval advanced his cause for canonization, and the next steps would involve review by a board of theologians and then would move to cardinals and bishops – and then to Pope! Should the miracle be validated by Pope Francis, he would then be declared “Blessed.” A second miracle would lead to Canonization and Sainthood.

Said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, “Today is a significant step in the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a Son of the Heartland who went on to change the world. There are many more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice.”

See official press release here.

“The poor of the Missions of the world need the comfortable to supply roofs for their churches, medicine for their hospitals, and clothes for their backs, but the comfortable need the poor in order that they may have the blessing of God in their hearts, the charity of Christ in their souls, and the intercession of the poor who are the friends of God.”

– Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, MISSION magazine inaugural issue (April / May 1951)

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Celebrating Venerable Archbishop Sheen's Birthday - May 8th

 

Happy birthday Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen! Celebrate his birthday with us - celebrate his life, his legacy and his love for the Missions!

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was born on May 8th and named Peter, like the first missionary apostle, but his family called him “Fulton,” his mother’s maiden name:

“The Archbishop was born in El Paso, Illinois, May 8, 1895, one of four sons of Newton Morris and Delia (Fulton) Sheen. Baptized Peter, he took the name of John at Confirmation and later adopted his mother’s maiden name.”

-Treasure in Clay

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The Archbishop’s birthplace – the hardware store and apartment at 25 Front Street, El Paso, Illinois, where the Sheen family lived. Archbishop Sheen was born here and his father ran the hardware store. (Courtesy, Fulton J. Sheen Archives) – Treasure in Clay

“It was at this point in my life that I was given the name of Fulton. It seems that I cried for almost the first two years of my mortal life. Later, as a boy, I was so embarrassed when visiting relatives and a family doctor would always begin the conversation to my mother: ‘Oh, this is the boy who never stopped crying.’ I became such a burden to my mother that her own mother and father would often relieve her tears. Jokingly, relatives and friends would say to my mother: “Oh, he’s Fulton’s baby.” When I was enrolled in the parochial school my grandfather Fulton was asked my name and he answered: “It’s Fulton.” Though I had been baptized Peter in St. Mary’s Church in El Paso, Illinois, I now was called Fulton.”

-Treasure in Clay

 


National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (1950-1966)

"What the appointment as National Director brought to my life was the opportunity to see...that the conversion of a single soul may not be alienated from the promotion of human rights as required by the Gospel... that soul-winning and society-saving are the concave and the convex sides of the love of God and love of neighbor..."

 - Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen

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"In 1950, the bishops of the United States invited me to become National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. This meant opening the narrow door of a classroom to the world."

- Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Treasure in Clay (his autobiography)

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Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen - Founding Editor of MISSION magazine

 

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen was the founding editor and publisher of MISSION magazine (in 1951; this is the second issue!) - which we still publish today!

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We're offering the first five people who sign up at this link (http://www.onefamilyinmission.org/contact-us.html) for a complimentary subscription to MISSION a free copy of Archbishop Sheen's autobiography, Treasure in Clay.

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"The poor missions of the world need the comfortable to supply roofs for their churches, medicine for their hospitals, and clothes for their backs, but the comfortable need the poor in order that they may have the blessing of God in their hearts, the charity of Christ in their souls, and the intercession of the poor who are the friends of God."  - Archbishop Fulton Sheen, editorial, MISSION magazine, April-May 1951 (inaugural issue)


An Anniversary for a Bishop – June 11, 1951

 

While Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, he was elevated to bishop on June 11, 1951, serving as an Auxiliary Bishop under Cardinal Francis Spellman.  In a two-and-a-half hour ceremony at the Basilica of SS. John and Paul in Rome, he was ordained a bishop, and then later saw Pope Pius XII in a private audience.

Here was the message the new “Bishop” Sheen sent, via cablegram from Europe, and quoted in a New York newspaper:  “I certainly do not deserve being a successor to the Apostles and receiving the fullness of the priesthood. There is no doubt that if I continued even another 23 years as a Professor of Philosophy, the Bishopric never would have come. It must, therefore, be that the Holy Father and Cardinal Spellman willed rather to honor not me as a person, but the World Mission Aid Society for the Propagation of the Faith, of which I happen to be the National Director.

“As the church bell is rung not to honor the belfry, but to call souls to worship, so I have been named not to glorify myself,” he continued, “but to remind all peoples of the importance of the missions when the world is engaged in the struggle of evangelizing for Christ...”

He concluded:  “In days of peace and prosperity, the Bishopric is a privilege and an honor. In this hour of crisis and war, it is a summons to sacrifice, to work, and to reparation. May I, therefore, beg my friends who have prayed for me in the past, to renew their oblations, that this frail vessel, in which the flower of the Bishopric has been laid, will humble himself that the missions may be exalted and that the Holy Father and Cardinal Spellman may see their high hopes of missionary expansion justified to me, who has the honor to be the servant of the missionaries of the world.”

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Solemn moments during consecration of Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen as Auxiliary Bishop of New York. Adeodato Giovanni Cardinal Piazza presided in Rome’s Church of Sts. John and Paul, June 1951. (G. Felici) – Treasure in Clay

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Bishop-Elect Sheen quoted in New York newspaper article

 

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Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and the Holliger Family

 

(Reprinted from Mission Magazine Spring 1995, in prayerful memory of Yolanda Holliger, Tom Holliger and Reeda Holliger.)

AIRPLANES AND ALMOND JOYS

A family remembers Fulton Sheen

Rosemarie Costello can recall dashing through the airport with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. “We would run to the candy counter,” she told MISSION. Archbishop Sheen, her grandmother’s cousin, would often visit her family during the time they lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rosemarie, the oldest of the six children of Yolanda and Tom Holliger, shared a common interest with the late prelate. “We both loved Almond Joy® candy bars,” she recalled in an interview from her home in Edmond, Oklahoma. For her and her siblings, Archbishop Sheen was like a “grandpa.”

It was through Fulton Sheen that Rosemarie’s mom and dad got together. “I would go to a parish in Jersey City, St. Aedan’s, to hear the archbishop preach,” recalled Yolanda. “I would wait after and give him money for the Propagation of the Faith for the Missions and then talk with him.” After a while Archbishop Sheen invited her to his television broadcast in New York City. He told Yolanda after one show’s taping that his cousin had seen her in the audience and wanted to meet her. The rest, she notes, is history. In addition to marrying the couple on the main altar at St. Patrick’s, Archbishop Sheen also baptized their six children.

For Tom’s mother, Reeda Holliger, memories of young Fulton Sheen include jumping in and out of a horse-drawn surrey. The soon-to-be-93-year-old resident of Columbus, Ohio, grew up with Fulton Sheen in Peoria, Illinois, near his birthplace in El Paso. “My father and Fulton’s father were cousins,” she told MISSION. “Every Sunday the Sheens would come to my grandmother’s house for dinner.” She recalls with much pride singing at his first Christmas Mass at St. Mark’s Church in Peoria. What did she think as years went on about her ever more famous cousin? “We were very proud of Fulton. He was truly God given.”

Two days before he died, Tom and Yolanda visited Archbishop Sheen at this Manhattan residence. Their daughter Michele (now Michele Betz) was with them. Michele recalled a previous visit, a few weeks before. “Archbishop Sheen was so concerned about me, asking about school, my upcoming prom; so interested in my life,” she said. The photograph he gave to her mother that afternoon captured the moment that October when Pope John Paul II had embraced Archbishop Sheen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. “Archbishop Sheen signed that picture to my mom and dad, “With love and prayers from the Rock and the pebble,” Michele said. “My parents still have that picture hanging up in their house to this day.”

The day before he died, Reeda Holliger telephoned her cousin. Archbishop Sheen told her of the visit of Yolanda, Tom and Michele. He told her too of the plans they were making for Michael, the Holliger’s youngest child, to receive First Communion in his chapel. “’Now, Reeda,’ he said, ‘you’ll come to New York for this and we’ll have ice cream and cake after for all the kids and for everybody,’” Reeda recalled, adding, “You know, he had a real sweet tooth.”

“And see that,” she continued, “the day before he died, Fulton sheen was planning my grandson’s first Communion. Yes, those were two things he loved: the Lord and his family.”

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A young Fulton Sheen in 1919 with his cousins, Reeda Eibeck, later Reeda Holliger, left, and her sister, Nora.

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In a photo taken in 1975, Archbishop Fulton Sheen with Tom and Yolanda Holliger and their children, left to right, Thomas Jr., Rosemarie, Maureen, Aileen, Michele and Michael.

 


Venerable Archbishop Sheen and the Missions – on Television

 

A red sweater, a manila folder, a small notebook.  These were three items – all connected to Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen – that National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI presented to Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR when he visited with him on EWTN’s Sunday Night Prime.  The television program’s initial broadcast was April 28; a video copy of the show, “Missionaries in the Year of Faith,” may be viewed at the show’s website.

In addition to discussing the very missionary heart of Archbishop Sheen, his predecessor as National Director (1950 to 1966), Father Andrew told Father Apostoli about his recent missionary journeys, about the call through Baptism to be missionary – and the significance of that in this Year of Faith – and about our new “chief missionary,” Pope Francis, who encourages all of us to “embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important…”

The program also affirmed our patron missionary saints, St. Francis Xavier and St. Thérèse of Liseux, the little flower whose support for the Missions on the home-front in her “little ways” inspires us to support the missions ourselves through prayer and sacrifice.

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Pages from Venerable Archbishop Sheen’s notebook during his travels in the missions as national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith...


Venerable Archbishop Sheen and Easter: Hope for the Poor

 

Wrote Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in MISSION magazine in March-April 1957, “Stores in America are having a hard time thinking up Easter presents ‘for people who have everything’: They wouldn’t have so much trouble finding something suitable for this Chinese mother and child. She needs everything: food, clothing shelter, love. Why not put her on your Easter list – she’s so easy to shop for.”

Even today, Archbishop Sheen’s words ring true as we remember our reason for hope and try to extend that hope to the poor half a world away.

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Venerable Archbishop Sheen and Easter: Questions & Answers

 

“The Cross had asked the questions; the Resurrection had answered them.... The Cross had asked: “Why does God permit evil and sin to nail Justice to a tree?” The Resurrection answered: “That sin, having done its worst, might exhaust itself and thus be overcome by Love that is stronger than either sin or death.”

“Thus there emerges the Easter lesson that the power of evil and the chaos of any one moment can be defied and conquered, for the basis of our hope is not in any construct of human power but in the power of God, who has given to the evil of this earth its one mortal wound – an open tomb, a gaping sepulcher, an empty grave.”

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Venerable Archbishop Sheen and Easter: Hope in the Risen Jesus

                                           

On Easter Sunday in 1951, then Monsignor Fulton Sheen delivered his Catholic Hour radio program, challenging his listeners not to be like the “friends of our Lord” who were “too pessimistic and despairing.”

“Well indeed may Our Lord say on this Easter Day to his friends:  Why are you troubled in heart, despairing and cast down? … Have we lost the Christian virtue of hope?”  And our hope, then Monsignor Sheen emphasizes comes from the knowledge that we will never be separated from the love of Jesus.  

Soon after his election as our new Holy Father, first missionary of the Church, Pope Francis spoke also on this subject, “Let us never yield to pessimism…or discouragement: let us be quite certain that the Holy Spirit bestows upon the Church, with his powerful breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, so as to bring to Gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8).”  

Ending his radio broadcast for that Easter Sunday more than six decades ago, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen signed off as he always did:  “Pray for missionaries.”  Pray, in essence, for those who then and today continue to remind the lost and forgotten that they are not abandoned, but loved by the Lord who suffered, died and rose for each and every one of us!

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Venerable Archbishop Sheen, the Holy Hour and the Holy Spirit

 

“On the day of my ordination, I made two resolutions,” wrote Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his autobiography, Treasure in Clay.  The first resolution was to offer the Holy Eucharist every Saturday in honor of the Blessed Mother “to solicit her protection on my priesthood.”

His second resolution – to spend a continuous Holy Hour every day in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. 

“The Holy Hour,” he wrote, “became like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the… atmosphere of the world...” 

In this week before Pentecost, perhaps the World Mission Rosary, offered in prayer before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, would revive the Spirit’s actions and gifts in our own lives, for our own missionary witness.

 

 


 

 Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and the Holy Spirit

 

“They who have not the Spirit call him ‘a great man,’ ‘a teacher,’ ‘a master’; but to see Him as the Lord of heaven and earth, as the Son of the Living God, comes only through the Holy Spirit.”

-Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from The Priest is Not His Own

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Road to Sainthood

 

‘AMERICA NEEDS A SAINT…’

 

“America needs a saint, an American saint.” So wrote Archbishop Fulton Sheen in MISSION magazine in the spring of 1955.

While there have been female saints born on our shores since he wrote that editorial, the cause for an American-born male saint moved a step closer to reality this past June when Archbishop Sheen himself, once national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (1950 to 1966), was declared “Venerable.”

Archbishop Sheen heroically lived Christian virtues and should be considered “venerable,” said a June 28 decree issued by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes and signed by Pope Benedict XVI.  The next step – beatification – requires that the Vatican recognize that a miracle has occurred through his intercession. 

On September 14, 2002, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, Italy, gave permission to Bishop Daniel Jenky, CSC of Peoria, Illinois, to officially open his cause for canonization.  (Archbishop Sheen was born, raised and later ordained to serve as a priest in that diocese.)  At that time, he was given the title, “Servant of God.”  A little more than a year ago, Bishop Jenky presented the Pope with two thick volumes about the life of Archbishop Sheen; three fully documented alleged miracles – with one selected for full canonical investigation – have also been sent to the Vatican.

In that MISSION editorial more than a half century ago, Archbishop Sheen speculated that perhaps the American saint would have “served the Church in other lands,” noting, “for we want a saint from America but not only for America.”  With the Missions as his self-declared “greatest love,” his edging further on the path to sainthood may mean he was just what he was thinking about – from America, for the world!

For more information on the Cause for Canonization of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, please visit www.archbishopsheencause.org.

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Praying for the Cause: Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Mary's Cathedral


 

St. Thérèse and Fulton Sheen

 

Venerable Archbishop  Fulton Sheen was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (to which St. Thérèse was a contributor), and he was a member of the Carmelite Third Order and therefore very aware of the “missionary power of Carmelite contemplatives such as St. Thérèse.” Both shared a love and special patronage for the Blessed Mother (Sheen was dedicated to Our Lady at baptism, and Thérèse wrote Story of a Soul under Mary’s patronage), as well as a love for the Missions of the Church.

Said Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen of St. Thérèse, “Now maybe this is what we are all supposed to be and what the Little Flower intended we should be: Little Jesuses, undergoing our passions, spreading good will and kindness just as He did... It does not require much time to make us saints, it requires only much love.”

As our tour of the writing desk of St. Thérèse continues throughout the United States, a stop included the Diocese of Orange in California. At the Orange County Prayer Breakfast on September 18th, before more than 1,000 Catholics, Father Andrew Small, OMI preached a homily at the same pulpit in Christ Cathedral where Archbishop Sheen, his famous predecessor as national director, once did.  This site was once the Crystal Cathedral and home to Robert H. Schuller who invited then Bishop Sheen to speak at his church; Schuller drew inspiration for his popular show, “Hour of Power,” from Sheen who had himself hosted an evening radio broadcast, “The Catholic Hour,” for more than two decades.

Before speaking, Father Andrew hoped to do as Archbishop Sheen had, holding up the Little Flower as a model of how we can all be saints  – calling us to the great love that marked her life and drawing many to the love of the Missions, a love that marked both her life and the live of Archbishop Sheen.

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“Returning the writing case to Lisieux, I will also carry with me the many names of those who have entrusted their cares and hopes to the intercession of St. Thérèse,” said Father Andrew, who had made the journey to Lisieux to personally receive the writing desk from the Sisters in France.  (Photo above from the visit of the writing desk to Seattle, September 13 to 15)


Embracing the World in Prayer
 
In February of 1951, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966), in a radio address (The Catholic Hour), inaugurated a World Mission Rosary. “We must pray, and not for ourselves, but for the world. To this end, I have designed the World Mission Rosary. Each of the five decades is of a different color to represent each of the five continents.” Praying this Rosary, Archbishop Sheen said, would “aid the Holy Father and his Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor mission territories of the world.”
 
“Renewed energy to the mission of the whole Church.”
As he announced a Year of Faith (begins October 11, 2012), Pope Benedict XVI focused on its ultimate purpose. That “renewed energy,” he observed, would be directed “to lead men and women out of the desert...toward friendship with Christ who gives us fullness of life.” During the Year of Faith, the Pope has asked all of us to be part of a great Prayer Movement focused on the person of Jesus Christ and faith in Him. This Prayer Movement — to which we are all called — will be centered on the World Mission Rosary.
 
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Celebrating Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen — praying the World Mission Rosary following the Holy Hour at St. Mary's Cathedral is Archbishop Sheen's niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham (www.WorldMissionRosary.org)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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