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In the days of the 4th – 8th of October, Our Blessed Mother in the Czestochowa Icon peregrinating across the world in defense of life, arrived at the World Prayer Congress for Life, which took place in Vienna this time, under the motto: "Ecce Mater Tua" (literal translation – Behold Your Mother).

The festivities commenced with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, presided by His Excellency, Bishop Elmar Fischer – the retired ordinary of the Feldkirch Diocese in Austria - at the church of the Franciscan Friars Minor.  Subsequently, the Icon was brought in a solemn procession to the Niederösterreich Castle, where the Congress took place.  She was being greeted with the sounds of the solemn fanfare of Jasna Gora.  Placed on a pedestal and surrounded by flowers, She oversaw the Congress deliberations.

Many well-known experts and pro-life leaders from various countries spoke during the debates.  The presentation of the peregrination of the Czestochowa Icon across the world in defense of life was given by Katherina Uchacova from the Czech Republic.  The speaker who followed her, was Monsignor Philip J. Reilly from the USA – the founder of a very successful method of fighting for life, known as "Helpers of God's Precious Infants," which is dependent on uniting prayer with processions in front of the abortion clinics.  In his lecture, entitled "Mary, the Mother of Life," Msgr. Reilly emphasized that the ultimate reason we must go to the abortion clinics is to save souls by our prayers for the enemies of life, - for those who kill and side with the culture of death.  He noted that this is a big spiritual battle for the salvation of those souls.

The following day of the Congress, Friday, was dedicated to suffering in union with Mary standing under the Cross.  Bishop Elmar Fischer spoke on the topic: "The Humanae Vitae Encyclical vs. the spirit of the times, a replica based on scientific research in Vorarlberg."

In the afternoon, about five hundred participants of the Congress took the buses to the Vienna Forest, to visit the famous, oldest, and currently largest monastery of the Cistersians by the name of Heiligenkreuz (Holy Cross), which has been in existence since 1133 A.D.  There, they prayed the Stations of the Cross as a reparation for the killing of the unborn children, and later, they prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the Monastery Basilica of the Holy Cross.  Cistersian Abbot Gregor Henckel-Donnersmarck presided over the Holy Eucharist.  After the solemn celebration, followed the meeting with Father Abbott and the monks of this monastery, during which the Cistersian Father, Dr. Bernhard Vošicky, presented a meditation on the topic of the power of the Rosary Prayer, citing the Rosary Crusade for Austria as an example.

The next day of the Congress fell on the First Saturday of the Month, dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Philip J Reilly, known for his great involvement in the defense of life.  After the Holy Mass, the participants of the Congress prayed the Holy Rosary.

In the afternoon, the subsequent speakers discussed the influence of the Mother of God in human history, the modern world, and its evangelization.    The day was concluded with the celebration of the Marian Devotion at the Church of the Nine Choirs of Angels, which was led by His Excellency, Bishop Dr. Klaus Küng of the Diocese of Sankt Polten, who is the Chairman of the Committee for the Family for the Austrian Episcopate.

The day was to conclud with a candle-light procession to the column of the Immaculate Virgin Mary but it was not possible because there were so many protesters and the police told us to have the dedication in the other church near by the congress hall and so with the celebration of the 15-year anniversary of the Life Center in Vienna the day concluded.

At 10:00 p.m., Our Lady in the Icon of Czestochowa was bid farewell and departed for the continuing journey through Austria.


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