"Advent 2010"

(lifePR) ( Wien, )
It has almost become a tradition for the former Bishop of Innsbruck, Dr Reinhold Stecher, to design a stamp with a Christmas motif for the Austrian Post Office. For the fourth time now, this keen hobby painter has taken up his brush and palette and created the picture that decorates this year's Advent stamp. It shows the most famous symbol of Dr. Stecher's home town Innsbruck, the Goldenes Dachl, next to an illuminated Christmas tree, bathed in a peaceful aura that brilliantly interprets the warm atmosphere of the period leading up to Christmas.

After a completing his schooling in Innsbruck and serving in the Reich Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst), Reinhold Stecher entered the seminary in St Michael in Matrei in 1939. However, the seminary was soon closed by the Gestapo and as a result he moved to the St George's monastery in Carinthia. After a pilgrimage to Maria Waldrast, he was imprisoned by the Gestapo for two months in 1941. This was followed by service in the German Army on the front in Karelia, Lapland and Norway. Reinhold Stecher was wounded and following his return to Austria entered the Canisianum seminary. In 1947, he was finally ordained priest, and then pursued a variety of activities as prefect, teacher and pastor, before acquiring his doctorate in theology in 1951. From 1956 to 1981, Dr Stecher was professor for religion at the Innsbruck teacher training college, and at the same time, from 1968, professor for religious education at the federal teacher training academy. In addition, from 1965 to 1970 he acted as spiritual director at the seminary of the two dioceses of Innsbruck and Feldkirch. He was consecrated bishop in December 1980 by Pope John Paul II. Within the Austrian Bishops' Conference, Dr Reinhold Stecher was for many years responsible for Caritas and women's issues, while at the same time serving as representative on the Faith Commission of the German Bishops' Conference. His period of office also included the highly acclaimed visit by Pope John Paul II to Innsbruck, together with the beatification of the two martyr priests Otto Neururer and Jakob Gapp.

When talking about his stamp designs, Dr Stecher is modest: "I simply provide a bit of atmosphere to the secret of Christmas. But since no Christian feast is more deeply embedded emotionally in our society than Christmas, the small reminder in the corner of a letter can contribute to not only the letter but also the heart going on a journey towards the great peace."
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