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Large distribution part of area Catholics’ event

Fifteen Catholic parishes in the Springfield deanery will celebrate the “Year of Faith” with special events and observances Thursday through Sunday, including the largest distribution of free food undertaken by the local Second Harvest Food Bank.

“It is part of our local response to the call of Pope Benedict XVI to … spread the word of the beauty of the Gospel and of God’s creation,” said the event chairman, Judge Richard Carey. “In doing so, we are mindful of Pope Benedict’s admonishment that this evangelism must begin with each of us, individually.”

The celebration will kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday with a concert at Catholic Central High School featuring international recording artist John Angotti. Angotti’s awards include Male Vocalist of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year, and Praise and Worship Album of the Year from the United Catholic Music and Video Association.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the parishes will gather at St. Raphael Catholic Church to celebrate Mass with Bishop Joseph Binzer of the Cincinnati archdiocese. It will feature a special deanery-wide choir and a brass ensemble.

On Saturday each parish will carry out a charitable project and jointly will sponsor the Kraft Foods Mobile Pantry of the Second Harvest Food Bank in front of Catholic Central High School. Beginning at 9 a.m., food will be available for families living east of Limestone Street, then at 1 p.m. for families west of Limestone Street. The goal is to serve 1,000 families.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, St. Bernard Catholic Church will host Eucharistic Adoration along with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These will be followed by the family recitation of the Rosary at 7:15 p.m. at the Lourdes Grotto there.

The celebration will wrap up at 7 p.m. Sunday with lectures in the Catholic Central High School gymnasium by the internationally renowned Bible scholar and 1994 Catholic convert Stephen K. Ray. A best-selling author, speaker, video producer and teacher, he also has led more than 100 pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

Tickets to the Angotti concert and Ray lectures are free and available to the public. To reserve them, call Catholic Central High School at 937-325-9204.

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