Lower Austria – Niederösterreich

On Monday, October 8, Our Blessed Mother was visiting the Austrian state (Land) called Niederöstrreich – Lower Austria. 

The day began at 6:30 a.m., at the Basilica Shrine of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Maria Roggendorf, which is located near the Benedictine Monastery of St. Joseph.  Abbot Michael Fritz OSB welcomed Our Lady.  The Icon was brought solemnly into the church and placed near the altar.  After the morning celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Icon was surrounded by the faithful, venerating Our Lady until 2:00 p.m.

Maria Roggendorf is known for its great devotion to Mary.  At this Marian shrine, on the 13th of every month, large Fatima processions take place, which have been initiated by the late Vienna Archbishop, Cardinal Hermann Groër.  The fruit of this prayer of reparation are the two Benedictine convents:  Maria Roggendorf and Marienfeld, where Cardinal Herman – the great Marian devotee – has been laid to rest.

In the afternoon, Our Lady traveled to St. Pölten, where She was welcomed in front of the beautiful portico of the Franciscan church by its custodian, Father Michael Wimmer.  The prayerful veneration lasted only two hours and people were saying good-bye to Our Blessed Mother regretfully, as She was leaving for the Immaculata Sisters in Geresdorf, where She was encircled by prayer all night long.

Early in the morning of the next day, October 9, a solemn Marian Mass was celebrated in the chapel belonging to the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.  At 9:00 a.m., after a warm farewell ceremony, Our Lady left for Gaming's old town center, near the renovated Carthusian Monastery built in 1330 AD, and currently known as the Gaming Charterhouse (Ger. "Kartause Gaming").  The sanctuary in the post-Carthusian church is known as "Mary, Throne of Christ."  

The Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio), which has its European Campus in Gaming (Austria), hosted the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.   Our Blessed Mother arrived at around 11:00 a.m., on October 9, and was welcomed by Fr. Luke Tor - the American campus chaplain, by Father Andrzej Skoblicki, as well as by the campus director, Tom Wolter.  After the Icon of Our Lady was brought inside the church, "She" was placed next to the altar in the sanctuary and the Holy Rosary was recited in the intention for the defense of life in the world.

A solemn celebration of the Holy Mass began at noon, and the students from the university, as well as pilgrims from many parts of Austria (Ybbs, Gaming, Kopfing and others), participated in this Eucharist.  Father Andrzej  (Andrew) Skoblicki, a Polish priest who works in the Diocese of St. Pölten, presided over the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  He also gave the homily that shed more light on the true meaning of the peregrination and our involvement in fulfilling the 5th Commandment.  At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr. Luke, the student chaplain, renewed the Act of Entrustment of the Protection of the Civilization of Life and Love into the Hands of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the presence of the Icon of Our Lady followed – which lasted until midnight.  The vast numbers of praying people looked so beautiful; there were students from various university departments.  It is worth noting that these students participate in perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament from Monday through Thursday, day and night, throughout the duration of their college years at Franciscan University.

During the night hours, the Icon of Our Blessed Mother remained at Fr. A. Skoblickis's residence, where, together with his mother, he remained in prayerful vigil.  In the morning, at 7:00 am, the Icon was transferred again inside the church for continued veneration.  On October 10, at 11:00 a.m., the farewell of the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa followed.  The pilgrims from Kopfing in Innkreis, the western parts of Austria, came to participate in this solemn celebration.

The "Te Deum" was sung and the Icon was escorted to the glass shrine on wheels, while the "Black Madonna" hymn was being sung.  Once the Icon reached the Life Mobile, Our Lady was given a blessing on Her continued journey to Linz and further pilgrimage, as the gathered faithful bid Our Lady their heartfelt farewell.


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