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    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    6,500 Catholics gather for Festival of Faith; in English, Spanish and Polish

    Thousands of Catholics from parishes across the Chicago area streamed into Rosemont on Saturday to celebrate their faith, share information and get some inspiration -- in English, Spanish and Polish.

    "People are isolated in their parishes at times," said Cardinal Francis George. "The people have come in, and in greater numbers than last time. They feel very encouraged."
    Speeches and workshops, presented by people from across the country, were in the three major languages of Chicago area parishioners, English, Spanish and Polish. The festival also had speakers specifically aimed at young people with such topics as "Finding God in the Midst of Noise" and "Standing with Courage: Confronting Tough Decisions about Sex."
    The Saturday evening mass, celebrated by the cardinal, also contained elements in all three languages.

    Speakers on Saturday included Monsignor Jim Lisante, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Hempstead, N.Y., who drew a large crowd to hear him talk about the importance of strong families in building strong parishes. Delivering the keynote Spanish address on Saturday was Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M.

    "All three days were excellent," said Sister Rita Ramos. The speakers "had some of the most profound things to say."
    "It's the best thing I've gone to," added Sister Joan Cooney.

    I think the time is ripe for large gatherings at least once per year. I
    would look forward to it.


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