Beatification Pleased Albania's Muslims and Orthodox

Religious Leaders Attended Ceremony for Mother Teresa

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2003 ( Albanian religious leaders were delighted with Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s beatification last Sunday.

A delegation of religious leaders from Albania, including Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims, participated in the ceremony, in a visit that was arranged by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Members of the delegation included Bishop Angelo Massafra of Shkodre, and Monsignor Dode Gjergji, secretary of the Albanian episcopal conference and head of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue.

Reshat Bardhi, leader of the Bektashi Muslim Confraternity, present in Turkey and Albania, told the missionary agency Fides: «We are very happy to have participated in this solemn celebration.»

«Mother Teresa is a daughter of Albania, but now she belongs to the whole world,» Bardhi said. «She has obtained the title she merited and it is a great honor for us that it has been given to her. I am profoundly grateful to Pope Wojtyla.»

Joan Pelushi, leader of the Albanian Orthodox Church, said that «the beatification was a great event for Albania. We hope it won’t be limited to the ceremony, but that there will be profound reflection which will bring together the religious communities and teach us to love one another more.»

«From this little Albanian religious, who is our pride, we want to learn to work for dialogue, tolerance and respect to serve humanity,» Pelushi added.

Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, added that he hoped the beatification «will bring great blessings for Albania and serve to increasingly improve Christian-Muslim relations.»

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