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Austria: Advent, bishops busy with prison visits

On the days preceding the Christmas Eve, the Austrian Bishops traditionally visit prisoners and fulfil the Church’s evangelical mission of the works of mercy by bringing the Christmas message of joy to those who have placed themselves on the margins of society because of their acts. In the Archdiocese of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn will celebrate an Advent Mass on 19 December, in the novena for Christmas, at the “Grauen Haus”, the Grey House of the Viennese, in Josefstadt state prison, Austria’s largest detention centre. In Lower Austria, Bishop Alois Schwarz of St. Pölten will visit the inmates and staff of the Krems-Stein prison on 18 December to celebrate a pre-Christmas service. Also on 18 December, the Auxiliary Bishop Anton Leichtfried will visit the prison of St. Pölten. The Diocesan Administrator of Carinthia, Mgr. Engelbert Guggenberger, is a regular visitor to the regional prison of Klagenfurt, where he will celebrate an Advent Mass on 14 December. Mgr. Manfred Scheuer will meet the inmates of Linz prison today and will visit Garsten prison on 13 December. Bishop Benno Elbs of Feldkirch will visit Feldkirch prison on 18 December while his fellow brother Bishop Wilhelm Krautwaschl of Graz-Seckau will celebrate a Mass in Leoben on 19 December. Archbishop Franz Lackner of Salzburg will be holding a Liturgy of the Word and will have interpersonal talks with a number of inmates at the Puch/Urstein prison on 20 December. Finally, Bishop Hermann Glettler of Innsbruck has already met inmates at the local prison last 10 December.

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