SHKODRA, Nov 5 – 38 Martyrs of Catholic Church executed by the communist regime in Albania during 1945-1974 due to their religious faith were beatified on Saturday by the Vatican in a Mass organized at St. Stefan Church in Shkodra, a city steeped tradition and culture situated in northeast Albania.
This event deemed as the most important after the visit of Pope Francis and Canonization of Mother Teresa brought together thousands of believers and citizens from Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and other countries. In attendance of the Mass were senior officials of Vatican, clergymen from different countries across the world and heads of religious communities in the country.
Archbishop Massafra expressed gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis for the gift he gave to the Albanian land by accepting to count among the Blessed and servants of God the Archbishop Vincens and his martyr companions.
The decree for beatification of 38 Martyrs of Albanian Catholic Church was signed in April by Pope Francis, an act that ranks them alongside the most renowned figures of world Catholicism.
All the Albanian Catholic clergymen have served altogether under the communist dictatorship 881 years in jail or nearly 9 centuries. Meanwhile all Albanian catholic clergymen had conducted 450 years of studies in 24 universities of Europe. Two days prior to beatification of 38 Martyrs of Catholic Church Albanian parliament passed a resolution condemning the crimes against clergy under the communist regime. This grand ceremony has drawn the attention of public opinion not only in Albania but all across the region.
By Urim Shera/