Pope to Bishops of Albania: Give Witness as the Martyrs Did

On Their Ad Limina Visit, They Show Difficulties, Hopes of Nation’s Church

PHOTO.VA - L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Pope Francis received the Bishops of Albania, who are in Rome on their Visit ad Limina on May 30, 2017, in the Vatican. 

It is a Church that suffered much during the 50 years of Communist dictatorship, which was determined to annihilate her without success.

In September 2014, Pope Francis made an Apostolic Journey to Tirana, the Albanian capital, where he appealed not to forget the sufferings of the martyrs, 38 of whom were beatified in November 2016.

Archbishop Angelo Massafra of Scutari, President of the Albanian Episcopal Conference, pointed out on Vatican Radio that the Pontiff also exhorted them today to imitate the example of these witnesses of the Gospel who paid with their life for their fidelity to Christ.

The Holy Father emphasized the need to “go out, to have zeal and hope, namely, a very strong look full of hope in God.” He also invited them to “promote vocations, a pastoral program that passes through witness, to be united, serene, and happy because if one is serene and happy he is also a model.”

In regard to interreligious dialogue, the Pope explained that in the last week representatives “of all creeds, Catholics, Orthodox, Evangelicals, Muslims <and> Bektashi made a joint declaration with an invitation to not create disorders, to collaboration, to solidarity, to agreement and dialogue, and to do something against the buying and selling of votes in view of the elections.”

The message the Albanian Bishops are taking to their country, after their meeting with the Successor of Peter, is “to be in communion among ourselves, to be committed to the family and to the poor, although we are already committed to the imprisoned and to families that have persons with disabilities.”

Above all, “we will invite to have hope, to pray, and to practice Eucharistic Adoration. We can go forward with Christ and have this look towards the future. And the Pope encouraged and blessed us,” concluded Archbishop Massafra.

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