According to press reports, the historic visit to Austria by Pope Benedict XVI September 7-9 will be covered by some 1,700 journalists, who will be among the 33,000 people expected to attend the Mass at the Shrine of Mariazell.
On September 8, some five thousand people from various countries are expected to attend the 850th anniversary celebrations at the shrine, among them a group of Germans from Bavaria, the native region of Benedict XVI.
On Sunday, September 9, after the recitation of the Angelus at St. Stephen’s Square, five hundred children of the “Missio Austria” will present the pontiff with letters and drawings. Local officials said the purpose is to raise funds for child soldiers in Uganda.
Another unique aspect of the papal visit is that the faithful who are unable to attend the Mass at Mariazell will be able to receive text messages on the cell phones with the papal blessing at the end of the celebration.
This is the fourth time a pope has visited Austria in the last 25 years and the first trip to a European country by Benedict XVI in 2007.