The Holy Father spoke in German about being joyful "at being a citizen of Mariazell and at being able to live so close to the Mother of God," and he spoke to the others about Mary's role as "promoter of unity" between men.
Benedict XVI also affirmed the importance that this shrine has had on European history. "Mariazell is much more than a 'place,'" he said. It also represents "the living history of a pilgrimage of faith and prayer down the centuries." Yet, he added: "It is not only the prayers and invocations of men that are present, but rather a real answer is also present.
"We feel that the answer exists, that we do not extend a hand toward something unknown, that God exists, and that, through his mother, he wants to remain particularly close to us.
He explained that Mary's "greatness is evident precisely in the fact that she addresses herself to the smallest, that she is present for them, that we can turn to her at any moment without having to pay an entrance fee, just with our hearts."
"In the trips that I make through the fields of memory," he said, "I always make a stop in Mariazell, precisely because I feel that there the Mother goes out to meet us and reunites us to all."