Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Austria's Catholic faithful to get a daily SMS from Pope Benedict

Austria's Roman Catholic faithful will be able to receive a daily SMS from Pope Benedict XVI ahead of his September 7-9 visit to Austria.

Launched on Sunday, the info-service provided by Austria's Catholic Church will provide messages with quotes from works by the pope from now until September 6.

Monday's SMS offered the following to the mobile phone congregation: "God is not some far-away higher being that cannot be approached. He is very close, in hearing range, always accessible."

"With new communication channels like SMS and mobile services, we want to bring the visit of Pope Benedict XVI even closer to the people," Bishop Egon Kapellari said in a press release.

The "Thoughts of the Day", consisting of carefully chosen quotes, are intended to encourage reflections "about God, Christian faith, the nature of humans and the meaning of life" in the summer holiday season, the press release said.

The service is free.

Also available are a cellphone picture of the pope, songs to be sung at festivities during his visit and chants performed by the monks of Heiligenkreuz monastery - another venue of the pope's visit.

To get in the right spirit for the upcoming visit, the bells of Vienna's St. Stephen's cathedral and Mariazell basilica can be downloaded as a ringtone.

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