Pope in Austria: "give the soul its Sunday; give Sunday its soul"

 Pope Benedict appealed for a renewed respect for Sundays, as he celebrated Mass yesterday in a packed St Stephen's cathedral in Vienna, on the last day of his three-day visit to Austria. The crowd had chanted "Benedetto! Benedetto!" and waved scarves and national flags as he entered the building. During his homily, the Holy Father said: "Give the soul its Sunday, give Sunday its soul" "Leisure time is certainly something good and necessary, especially amid the mad rush of the modern world," he said, adding though, that if leisure lacked an "inner focus," it could easily become wasted time. The Holy Father also had an environmental message, calling for people to celebrate on Sundays "the feast of thanksgiving and joy over God's creation... at a time when creation seems to be endangered in many ways through human activity." Mass was followed by the Angelus prayer at noon in front of the majestic gothic cathedral. The Pope then visited a Cistercian monastery in Heiligenkreuz, southwest of Vienna, where he spoke of a need for spirituality in life and blessed the crowd chanting his name and waving scarves. On his arrival on Friday, in an address to members of the government and the diplomatic corps at the Hofburg, the seat of the Austrian presidency in Vienna, the Pope condemned abortion as the "very opposite" of human rights. He also condemned euthanasia and called on Europe to uphold its Christian roots. Later on Friday the Pope had addressed thousands of faithful on a Vienna square, with heavy rain falling, before paying a solemn tribute to victims of the Holocaust at a nearby memorial. The main event of the Pope Benedictc's visit to Austria was his pilgrimage to Mariazell, on Saturday. During his arrival speech he explained: "The reason for my coming to Austria is the 850th anniversary of the shrine of Mariazell. This Marian sanctuary in some way represents the maternal heart of Austria, and has always had a particular importance also for Hungarians and the Slavic peoples. It symbolizes an openness which not only transcends physical and national frontiers, but, in the person of Mary, reminds us of an essential dimension of human beings: their capacity for openness to God and His word of truth." "...Mariazell does not only represent 850 years of history, but shows us on the basis of that history, the way to the future." Source: VIS/BBC

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