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Church Offers Text Messages From Pope

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July 30, 2007 09:43 PM EST | AP


VIENNA, Austria — Organizers of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Austria next month are offering the faithful a foretaste: daily cell phone text messages with quotes from the pontiff.

The Archdiocese of Vienna said the service, which began Sunday and will continue through the pope's Sept. 7-9 visit, will provide free excerpts of his sermons, blessings and writings.

Some of the quotations will date to the pope's days as a cardinal in Germany, church leaders said.

"Right through the summer vacation period, there will be carefully selected quotations for thinking about God, the Christian faith, human nature and the meaning of life," organizers said Monday in a statement.

The archdiocese said people can sign up for the text messages and there's no extra charge apart from the usual costs to send messages.

Benedict's trip to Austria, which is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, includes a stop at the Mariazell shrine to mark the 850th anniversary of its founding, a Mass at Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral, and a visit to an abbey in Heiligenkreuz outside the Austrian capital.

The pilgrimage will be the seventh foreign trip in his two-year papacy.

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On the Net:

Papal visit to Austria, http://www.papstbesuch.at