"Advent"

(lifePR) ( Wien, )
It comes around again every year, and the beginning of Advent announces the coming Christmas time. The peaceful reflective motif shows the small church of Ranui in the Vilnös Valley, South Tyrol. Ranui (Rhaeto-Romance for "old farmyard on a branch of the stream") was a farm that was converted into a small hunting castle around 1700, with a small church being added at the same time. The scene is dominated by the 3025 m high north wall of the Sass Rigais in the Geisler Group. The picture was painted by no less a person than Dr Reinhold Stecher, the former bishop of the diocese of Innsbruck.

After leaving school in Innsbruck and serving in the army, Reinhold Stecher entered the seminary of St Michael in Matrei in 1939. The seminar was, however, soon closed by the Gestapo, and he continued his studies at the monastery of St Georgen in Carinthia. After a pilgrimage to Maria Waldrast, Reinhold Stecher spent two months imprisoned by the Gestapo prison in 1941. He was then called into the Army, serving in Karelia, Lapland and Norway. Reinhold Stecher was wounded and entered the Canisianum seminary following his return home. He was finally ordained in 1947. This was followed by a number of activities as prefect, teacher and pastor before he obtained his doctorate in theology in 1951. Since 1958, Reinhold Stecher has been a member of the Catholic student association A.V. Raeto Bavaria Innsbruck, founded by his father Heinz Stecher in 1908. From 1956 to 1981, Reinhold Stecher was taught religion at the Teacher Training College in Innsbruck and, from 1968, professor for religion didactics at the State Teacher Training Institution. In addition, from 1965 to 1970, he was Spiritual at the seminary of the dioceses of Innsbruck and Feldkirch. He was appointed Bishop in December 1980 by Pope John Paul II as successor to Paulus Rusch. Within the Austrian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dr Reinhold Stecher was for many years responsible for the Caritas and women's departments, while at the same time he was also the Conference's representative in the Commission of Faith of the German Conference of Catholic Bishops. His period of office included the celebrated visit by Pope John Paul II to Innsbruck and the beatification of the two priest martyrs Otto Neururer and Jakob Gapp.

The former bishop has received many awards and is still active in many respects, enjoying huge popularity amongst the population and is an enthusiastic mountaineer, humorous writer and, as the stamp demonstrates impressively, an expressive painter.
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