Benedict XVI Made an "Austrian"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2009 ( Benedict XVI was made an honorary citizen today of the site of one of Europe’s most important Marian shrines.

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The honorary citizenship is for Mariazell in Austria. The ceremony took place adjacent to Paul VI Hall, when the Pope had finished the general audience.

Mariazell is the home of the Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, which houses a statue of Our Lady believed to be miraculous. For centuries, the town has been one of Europe’s principal pilgrimage sites. Today, some 1 million pilgrims visit it annually.

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