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Rome Reports

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Austrian diocese presents Pope Francis with gift bearing important reminder


Their Church is St. Peter's, both locally and universally. This group from Austria has come to Rome in celebration of an important anniversary. 

For 800 years, the Diocese of Graz-Seckau has fostered a devout Catholic community that now composes 65 percent of the local population. Led by people like Fr. Ulz, this pilgrimage seeks to connect parishioners with their roots. 

FR. STEFAN ULZ
Diocese of Graz-Seckau (Austria)
“The founders were people like you and me, but who believed in God so strongly that they were ready to give their lives for Jesus and for the Church. This is the same vocation for us. This is only possible if we are together, around the pope and the bishops, in unity. This is the message I always try to transmit to those who come with me.”

These are just a few of the 200 people from the diocese – some as young as 3 years old – who flooded the Paul VI Audience Hall for the Wednesday General Audience, expressing their support for the Holy Father through smiles and singing. 

SILVIA RUSSEGGER
Diocese of Graz-Seckau (Austria)
“To take this deep faith of the pope with you, this happiness he gives you. It's so deep, and it's great that he's so happy. I think he really lives what he loves and believes.”

One young parishioner was even able to give Pope Francis a memento by which to remember the diocese, a medallion bearing the words “You'll never be alone” in German. 

MATHIAS
Diocese of Graz-Seckau (Austria)
“I thought, 'Wow, that's a very good person, and he's very funny.' I didn't know if I could give it to him because the men around him looked very strong, and I was afraid, but I was happy when I got his handshake. I was very happy.”

After an exciting day in Rome, this big Catholic family now sets off throughout Italy to explore more of its origins.