Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pilgrimage to Mariazell

In anticipation of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming visit to the Marian Shrine at Mariazell in Austria, I took part in a pilgrimage there today. Mariazell is an 8 hour walk from Gaming, at the end of which, exhausted and hopefully holier than when we began, we heard Mass (offered ad orientem!) at the shrine. Mariazell is the most important pilgrimage site in Austria as it has housed a miracle-working image of the Blessed Virgin carved in lime-tree wood since 1157. You can visit the official website of the Mariazell shrine here (in German).

We walked through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Needless to say, my feet are now killing me, but if I manage to go to confession this week and detach myself from all venial sin, I will be the grateful recipient of a plenary indulgence. So, I'll deal with sore feet. Along the way we prayed together all 15 decades of the holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary (as well as the 5 new decades that John Paul II decided to add to the Rosary, thus throwing off the correspondence between the Rosary and the Psalms).

The few pictures that I managed to take do not do justice in the least to the awesome majesty of the Alpine Mountains. Nevertheless, here is one of my favorites.

And here at last, our destination comes into view: the church at Mariazell. Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis!

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