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Rome Reports

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An Austrian Christmas Tree In The Heart Of The Vatican

A week 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 Renato BoccardoSecretary, 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 windows.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.In accordance 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.