.- The program for Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to Austria this coming September 7th to 9th has been formally accepted according to the Bishops Conference of Austria.
Viennese Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn and the Bishops Conference issued a statement following their recent spring meeting announcing that the Holy Father has accepted the schedule they had send for his approval.
According to German press service DPA, at the heart of his trip will be the Pontiff’s pilgrimage to the Austrian basilica of Mariazell on September 8th, where he will celebrate the 850th anniversary of the pilgrimage site.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to arrive at Vienna’s Schwechat airport in the late morning of September 7th. Around 12:45 local time he will lead prayers in the city center. In the afternoon, meetings with local dignitaries are tentatively scheduled.
On Saturday, September 8th, the Pope will travel to Mariazell, to celebrate the Holy Mass.
Returning to Vienna, the Pope will celebrate Sunday mass in Vienna's St. Stephens cathedral, according to DPA.
Sunday afternoon he is scheduled to visit Heiligenkreuz monastery near Vienna, before heading back to Rome in the evening. The Holy See is expected to release an official program in summer.
The bishops said they hoped for a strengthening of faith and a renewal of the church due to the visit.
"It is the pope's only trip to a European country this year so far, and therefore a big praise for Austria and a sign of the close connection between church and country," a spokesperson said.