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Welcome to the Parish of Hampshire Downs

– combining the churches of St Peter and St Stephen in Winchester, St Gregory in Alresford, and St Thomas More in Stockbridge

 

READ THE PARISH NEWSLETTER HERE

We are looking to cut parish costs by reducing the number of newsletters printed on paper each week. The newsletter is always available online (from the Friday before each Sunday), and each one stays online for several months for archive purposes.

Would you be interested in having a link to the newsletter emailed to you each week? You would receive it late afternoon each Friday, find out what’s going on nice and early, and you won’t need to take a paper copy at Massthough there will always be paper copies for those who want them.

Please let us know what you think about these ideas, and tell us how the newsletter shows up on your device. Contact us here.

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We are part of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth and unite four worshipping communities – St Gregory the Great, Alresford; St Thomas More, Stockbridge; and St Peter’s and St Stephen’s, both in Winchester. Do come and join us, or please contact us if you need further information or if we can help or support you in any way.

Read about the EVANGELISATION STRATEGY GROUP here.

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The Parish Accounts for 2015 have just been prepared: you can look at them here:

Parish Annual Accounts for 2015

Fifth Sunday of the Year: 7th February

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Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.   Luke 5

The painting is The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, by Jacopo Bassano, 1545, oil on canvas, courtesy of the NGA in Washington.

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Canon Paul writes:

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and Lent begins. It will be a time for the mercy of God to touch each of our lives during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis says this: “The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy. How many pages of scripture are appropriate for meditation during the weeks of Lent to help us rediscover the merciful face of the Father! We can repeat the words of the prophet Micah and make them our own: “You, O Lord, are a God who takes away iniquity and pardons sins, who does not hold your anger forever, but are pleased to show mercy. You, Lord, will return to us and have pity on your people. You will trample down our sins to the depths of the sea.”

So how do we live more intensely this privileged moment of mercy? There are a number of ways. Here are a few:

  • Find time each day for prayer;
  • Restore the balance between work, rest and recreation:
  • Tackle potential or real addiction;
  • Deepen our love for others;
  • Renew our commitment to weekly Sunday Mass and
  • Plan to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during Lent.

Many are anxious about the celebration of Reconciliation, either because of childhood memories or because of having not practised it for a long time. Don’t be anxious and have no fear. Priests have been told firmly by Pope Francis to be “Ministers of Mercy”. Don’t worry about being unfamiliar with what happens. The priest is there to help and to facilitate this renewing and healing encounter with Jesus. PJT

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The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated Every Saturday of the Year between 11.30am and 12.30pm and between 4.30 and 5.00pm

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THIS WEEK

Monday 8th FebruaryYear of Mercy Bible Study – ‘Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy’. The Prophets afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, calling us to return to our relationship with God. We read with the heart and not just the mind to discover the messages sent by God through his Prophets and how they speak to us today. Monday evenings, Pastoral Centre, 7.30pm running till Easter. Contact: parishstudies@gmail.com.

Wednesday 10th February is Ash Wednesday. Masses in St. Peter’s will be at 7.30am, 12.15pm and 7.30pm. Mass in St. Gregory’s will be at 10.30am. Liturgy of the Word with distribution of Ashes at St Stephen’s will be at 10.30am.

Wednesday 10th February – PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIME – ‘Catholicism’ – The Church. Robert Barron looks at ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’ Church whilst in Rome, New York, Sao Paolo, Manila, Namugongo and Uganda. We will start at 6.45pm in the Pastoral Centre and break for Mass at 7.30 and continue the session after Mass until about 9.30pm. parishstudies@gmail.com. You are welcome to come and drop in to any of these sessions.

Saturday 13th FebruaryYouthcat 10.30am to 12.30pm in the Pastoral Centre. Children in Yrs 4, 5 & 6 are welcome to join the fun activities at this month’s YouthCat session with the focus on the Bible. YouthCat children who are now in Yr7 are very welcome to come along as Young Leaders or to get involved in their own discussion group. For more information email youthstuff@hotmail.co.uk.

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Special Invitation

Wednesdays, 17th and 24th February, 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd March – “Let my prayer arise before you like incense” (Ps, 141:2). You are all invited to spend an hour with the Lord between 7.30 and 8.30pm in St. Peter’s Church during Lent:  There will be appropriate devotions and prayers. Please sign your name on the sheet at back of the church.

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Fourth Sunday of the Year: 31st January

Paul Corinthians

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end.

Paul 1 Corinthians Chapter 13

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Canon Paul writes: I would like to thank Monsignor Andrew Faley for his wonderful  sermon at the Christian Unity Celebration last Sunday in Winchester Cathedral [see below for the full text].  He spoke of the ‘original’ blessing we receive in Baptism and mentioned that all Christians are often persecuted or resisted because there will always be people who cannot accept Jesus and his message of life.  As we hear the call of Jeremiah today in the Old Testament Reading, the Word of the Lord assures Jeremiah that he will be given strength in the face of resistance “I will make you into a fortified city and a pillar of iron”.  In the Gospel Jesus himself escapes being thrown headlong over the precipice of the mountain at Nazareth because the people of his hometown cannot accept him.  For the Christian, difficulties and ‘persecutions’ take many forms. Often the difficulty will be a sense of being rejected either by family, friends, society or the Church. Sometimes our own sense of failure and our sinfulness will cause us to feel oppressed.

In this Year of Mercy we are invited to bring all these things to the Lord for healing and forgiveness.  On the 4th and 5th March we will celebrate Pope Francis’ ‘24 hours for the Lord’, which will be a celebration of God’s mercy.  Opening our lives to the mercy of God is a way of being renewed in spirit and in faith. The renewal of our parish in the life of mission and collaboration is my hope for the Parish Mission which will take place between 25th June and 10th July [more details below].   This weekend, we welcome   Karen and Amanda from the Sion Community who will be talking at all the Masses about the Mission.  PJT

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THIS WEEK

Members of the Sion Community are speaking at all Masses today, Sunday. (See Mission News below)

This weekend  The sisters of Maria Stella Matutina (who have a convent in Grayshott) are coming to the parish to sell a Lent booklet, on the theme of mercy, after each Mass, along with some other items.

Monday 1st February – Year of Mercy Bible Study – ‘Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy’.  The Prophets afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, calling us to return to our relationship with God.  We read with the heart and not just the mind to discover the messages sent by God through his Prophets and how they speak to us today. Monday evenings, Pastoral Centre, 7.30pm, running till Easter.   Contact: parishstudies@gmail.com.

Monday 1st February – Winchester Catholic History Group meet at 7.30pm in the Pastoral Centre.  Paul Quarrie of Maggs Bros: Dealers of Rare Books and Manuscripts will speak about ‘Books do furnish a room’ – The library at Vallodolid, Change and Continuity.

Wednesday 3rd February Senior Citizens Lunch Club – meet for 12.15pm Mass and then afterwards for lunch in the Pastoral Centre.

Friday 5th February – Mass at Weeke is cancelled.

LOOKING AHEAD:  

Wednesday 10th February is Ash Wednesday.  Masses in St. Peter’s will be at 7.30am, 12.15pm and 7.30pm.  Mass in St. Gregory’s will be at 10.30am

Wednesday 10th February PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIME ‘Catholicism’ – The Church. Robert Barron looks at “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” Church whilst in Rome, New York, Sao Paolo, Manila, Namugongo and Uganda. We will start at 6.45 and break for mass at 7.30 and continue the session after mass.  6.45-9.30 Parish Centre. Contact: parishstudies@gmail.com  You are welcome to come and drop in to any of these sessions.

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Update on Refugee Crisis core group activities

Since early October, a group of volunteers has been meeting regularly to provide a focus for the local Winchester response to the Refugee Crisis, following the Open Meeting at St Peter’s Pastoral centre on September 24th.

The Core group recommends each month a charity that is supporting refugees –  so far, Médecins Sans Frontières & Aid to the Church in Need have been identified, and over £1,000 has been sent to date via the group – doubtless significantly more has been sent directly.

One refugee family from Syria has already arrived in Winchester, and the Core group is co-ordinating support between the local authorities, the Red Cross, the local Muslim community and Churches Together in Winchester. Accommodation has been provided for the family privately, thus relieving pressure on local authority housing lists.  Various household and clothing items have been supplied to the family, together with WiFi and mobile phone access – they arrived destitute from a UNHCR  refugee camp. English language teaching support is being facilitated, and several local families are providing friendly support in various ways.

It is not known for certain if additional refugee families will arrive locally in the near future, but perhaps 2-3 more families will need support in the first half of 2016.

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Christian Unity Week

To mark Christian Unity Week,  Monsignor Andrew Faley preached at the Christian Unity Celebration in Winchester Cathedral last  Sunday at 6.30pm.

You can read his sermon here.

 

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Parish Mission

praying at Sion

 

PARISH MISSION 

JUNE 25TH – JULY 10TH 2016

 

We invite everyone to partake in our parish mission run by the Sion Catholic Community from June the 25th until July 10th. This is a fitting opportunity to inspire and strengthen our parish before the 90th anniversary of St Peter’s Church and  in the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.

Two members of the Sion Community will speak at all the Masses the weekend of January 30th, 31st. There will be a further meeting on Sunday the 31st of January at 3:00 p.m. in the Pastoral Centre where the mission will be further explained.  All are encouraged to come to this meeting and to partake in the preparations to make the mission successful.

Look out for more on the Mission on the website as the plans go ahead.

The top picture shows the altar at Sion HQ, with a call for us to pray for all the parishes having Missions this year. Courtesy of Imelda Weingart.

The picture below is of the Mercy Doors at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, courtesy of Fr Lawrence Lew OP.

Mercy Doors Lawrence Lew

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 Christian Unity Week

To mark Christian Unity Week,  Monsignor Andrew Faley preached at the Christian Unity Celebration in Winchester Cathedral last  Sunday at 6.30pm.

You can read his sermon here.

Third Sunday of the Year: 24th January

Jesus Teaching in the Synagogue

 

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him. He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives

and to the blind new sight,

to set the downtrodden free,

to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ Luke Chapter 4

The picture is a 16th century engraving of Christ in the Synagogue, by Leonard Gaultier, courtesy of the NGA in Washington.

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Canon Paul writes: Our Sunday Gospel presents Jesus proclaiming the Prophet Isaiah’s verses about the one who will bring good news to the poor.  Jesus himself is that good news and our baptism commits and empowers us to proclaim that same good news ourselves.  Our mission to evangelise grows out of our relationship with Jesus which St. Paul describes today in the reading from his First Letter to the Corinthians.  Each of us has a vital part to play in the whole work of the Body of Christ.  As the Lord’s disciples, we have a responsibility to contribute to that partnership which Paul is describing.  Each of us does it in our own way and, as Christian Unity Week comes to a close, we are reminded that one of our priorities is to commit              ourselves to a growing partnership with other Christians who are also members of the Body of Christ.

To mark Christian Unity Week we welcome Monsignor Andrew Faley who will be preaching at the Christian Unity Celebration in Winchester Cathedral on Sunday at 6.30pm. Monsignor Faley will also celebrate the 8.00am Mass in St. Peter’s on Sunday.

Next weekend we welcome two representative from the Sion Catholic Community.  They will speak at all the Masses to introduce the parish mission which will be taking place               between 25th June and 10th July. [see more below]  There will be  a meeting on Sunday 31st  January at 3.00pm in the Pastoral Centre about the Mission.   Everyone is welcome to come along.   PJT

 

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This Week

Evening Prayer and Benediction is cancelled today, 24th Jan.

Also today, Sunday 24th Jan Confirmation Programme – Session two  from 7.00 to 9.00pm in the Pastoral Centre. (It’s not too late to join… contact us with questions).

Sunday 24th January – Winchester Churches Together: Unity Service at 6.30pm in Winchester Cathedral.  The speaker is Monsignor Andrew Faley who has worked as National Adviser for Religious Education within the Catholic Education Service, and as  Assistant General Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales where he managed the department for Dialogue and Unity.  The service will be led by Nigel Hemming, Leader of the   Winchester Vineyard Church and Chairman of Churches Together in Winchester, and all are welcome.

Week of Christian Prayer in Alresford:   Sunday 24th January at 12.30pm – Annual Christian Unity lunch in the John Pearson Hall at St John’s Alresford.

Monday 25th January  – Year of Mercy Bible Study – ‘Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy’.  The Prophets afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, calling us to return to our relationship with God.  We read with the heart and not just the mind to discover the messages sent by God through his Prophets and how they speak to us today. Monday evenings, Pastoral Centre, 7.30pm running till Easter.   Contact: parishstudies@gmail.com.

Wednesday 27th January: Space in the City is entitled ‘What we need to know about Syria but are too ashamed to ask’.  This week’s speaker in this series of three Wednesday lunchtime talks is The Revd. Stephen Griffith who worked in the Diocese of Jerusalem from 19932003 and then became the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chaplain and representative will speak about the current situation for Christians and other minorities in Syria.  United Church from 12.30pm until 1.15pm which will include time for questions.

Sunday 31st January – Members of the Sion Community will be speaking at all Masses.

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The last week-end of January (30 / 31st):   The sisters of Maria Stella Matutina (who have a convent in Grayshott) are coming to the parish to sell a Lent booklet, on the theme of mercy, after each Mass.

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Mission News and 90th celebration of St. Peter’s Church

To prepare for the 90th anniversary of St Peter’s Church and to strengthen our community, Hampshire Downs Parish will be holding a mission from the 25th of June until the 10th of July. To prepare for this, representatives from the Sion Catholic Community will be coming to the parish to speak at all the Masses on the weekend of the 30th/31st January.  There will also be a meeting on the Sunday  afternoon in the Pastoral Centre at 3.00pm providing more details and encouraging all parishioners to take part in the preparations – be it everything from prayers to providing hospitality for the mission team. We encourage all of you to attend.  Our mission is for all the parish – whether you are involved or occasionally visit the church. Please join us in this joyous occasion.

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2nd Sunday of the Year: 17th January

parable of wedding feast

Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine.

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

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Canon Paul writes:

In our Gospel today, Jesus’s mother Mary tells the servants at the wedding to “Do whatever he tells you”.   Today that instruction is offered to each of us because God is constantly communicating with us.  The Lord speaks in the scriptures when they are proclaimed at Mass.  The Lord speaks to us through the details of our daily lives, which is why we must take time to reflect upon those details in prayer each day.

At St. Peter’s School the teachers know how important they are in helping children appreciate that God communicates with them.  The teachers can build on the work of parents whose key responsibility is to ensure that their children grow in their awareness of Jesus’s presence and action in their lives.  Our parents are well supported by our Parish School and by the ‘Youthcat’ sessions which happen every second Saturday of each month in the Pastoral Centre between 10.00am and 12.00 noon.  I urge parents to take advantage of the valuable resource that Youthcat is.  Youthcat is provided to help parents keep alive the flame of faith in their children’s hearts, which is a serious promise they make at each child’s baptism.  PJT

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For more information about what is happening in the Parish for our young people and how to contact us for more information, please click here

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THIS WEEK 

Monday 18th JanuaryThe Ascent Group meet in Pastoral Centre from 2.15 to 3.15pm.  All most welcome.

Monday 18th January  – Year of Mercy Bible Study – ‘Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy’.  The Prophets afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, calling us to return to our relationship with God.  We read with the heart and not just the mind to discover the messages sent by God through his Prophets and how they speak to us today. Monday evenings, Pastolral Centre, 7.30pm running till Easter.   Contact: parishstudies@gmail.com.

Wednesday 20th JanuaryThe St Gregory’s WCG meet at 7.00pm in St. Gregory’s Hall.  If you have any issues you wish to raise, please contact one of the members.

Thursday 21st JanuaryThe Catholic Women’s League meet in the Pastoral Centre from 4.30 to 6.30pm for a ‘New Year Catch-Up’.

Friday 22nd JanuaryCharity Soup Lunch organised by the Catholic Women’s League in aid of ‘Women’s  Refuge’ in the Pastoral Centre from 12.30pm.  Lunch £3 (pudding £1 extra).  Please do come and support.

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“There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit;

there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord;

working in all sorts of different ways in different people,

it is the same God who is working in all of them.”

1 Corinthians 12

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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord: 10th January 2016

Baptism of The Lord

Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

Mural inside the Orthodox Church at the archaeological site of the Baptism, Bethany Beyond the Jordan

Read more about the Baptism of the Lord feast day

divider line bigCanon Paul writes:

Our celebration of the Lord’s birth comes to its completion today as we celebrate his adult baptism in the River Jordan.   Jesus is the Messiah who joins us in our need for conversion and healing.  His baptism is an act of solidarity which shows that God’s love for us is a love which joins us in our struggle as human beings.

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us examine our lives to see how we might believe more deeply and trust more fully in the power of God’s love, which is the source and beginning of all healing.  Should we discover within ourselves an obstacle to that healing or to our reception of the sacraments, especially Holy Communion, we must bring the difficulty to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  There is no need for anxiety because priests have been told by the Pope to be ‘Missionaries of Mercy’.   PJT 

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The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated Every Saturday of the Year between 11.30am and 12.30pm and between 4.30 and 5.00pm

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THIS WEEK

Monday 11th January Winchester Catholic History Group meet at 7.30pm in the Pastoral Centre.  Abbot Aidan Bellenger, Titular Abbot of St. Albans will be talking on ‘Knowles and Gasquet,   Benedictine Historians’.

Monday 11th January – Pope Francis has made this year the Year of Mercy so we chose this Bible study – ‘Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy’. The Prophets afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, calling us to return to our covenant relationship with God. Discover the messages sent by God through his Prophets and how they speak to us today. Supported by excellent materials. Starting this Monday in the Pastoral Centre at 7.30pm and running till Easter.  Contact parishstudies@gmail.com.  You are welcome to try the first session and see what you think!

Wednesday 13th January ‘Catholicism’ – The Indispensable Men: Peter, Paul, and the Missionary Adventure.  Fr Robert Barron (on DVD) follows the trail of these apostles taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  7.30-9.30pm Pastoral Centre.   For more information contact: parishstudies@gmail.com.   You are welcome to come and drop in at any of these sessions.

Thursday 14th January – Pie Club The Pie Club is a monthly social event open to all. Meet in the Pastoral Centre, 12.45 – 2.30’ish – do come along.  Two-course home-cooked meal, good conversation and a talk.  Vegetarians and gluten-free catered for, any other food  issues let us know. Contact us for more information.

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“The truth I have now come to realise is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him” – Acts 10:34-38

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