It's a long way from the Piesting
Valley in Austria to Saint Peter's Square. But that's the journey this 109-foot
and 120-year-old spruce tree took to be the biggest Christmas tree in Vatican
history, since John Paul II began the tradition in 1982. This will be the fourth
time a tree from Austria was chosen for the honor.
after its arrival, the Vatican celebrated the fully decorated tree, which
included 2,000 balls, lights and a shining star. It stands in the center of St.
Peter's Square next to a life-sized nativity scene, which is currently under
construction and will be unveiled on Christmas Eve.Bishop
Secretary, Governatorate of Vatican City StateThis tree
represents and brings the affection, devotion and friendship of the people of
Lower Austria for the Pope and the Church. It is nice to think that a piece of
this beautiful country will be here at the heart of the Vatican, before St.
Peter's Basilica and under the watch of the Pontiff, who can contemplate and
admire the beauty of this tree from his illuminated
Hundreds of Austrian pilgrims braved the rain for
the tree's dedication ceremony, including a choir. The Pope met them during an
audience and thanked them for the tree. He also said it would bring great joy to
him as well as the citizens of Rome and pilgrims from around the world who come
to the Eternal City to celebrate Christmas.
with the Vaticans' new green policies, the tree will be recycled after the
Christmas holiday season. The wood will be used to make toys for needy children
or school benches.