Update in Albania – Muslims pray for Pope, security a non-issue

Tirana, Albania, Sep 21, 2014 / 06:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a press briefing Sunday the Vatican's spokesman downplayed worries over Pope Francis' safety in Albania, also noting that Muslims gathered in an important Tirana mosque to pray for the pontiff's visit. Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists that the Sept. 21 papal visit has been welcomed with joy by all the Albanian religious communities. On why Pope Francis did not stop the … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis to Albanian youth: Where you exist, there is hope

Tirana, Albania, Sep 21, 2014 / 05:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After celebrating Mass at Mother Teresa square during his one-day trip to Albania, Pope Francis led the crowds in the angelus prayer, urging the country's young people to live a life fully engaged with Christ. “Dear young people, you are the new generation of Albania,” he said Sept. 21. “With the power of the Gospel and the example of the martyrs, you know how to say 'No' to the idolatry of money, … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis: No one can use religion as a pretext for violence

Tirana, Albania, Sep 21, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis opened his trip to Albania praising the “coexistence” between members of different faiths in the country, while condemning those who “consider themselves to be the 'armour' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression.” “May no one use religion,” the Pope said, “as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of … [Read more...]

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After brutal persecution, Albania ‘reopened’ to missionary zeal

Tirana, Albania, Sep 21, 2014 / 03:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During Mass at Mother Teresa square as part of his one-day trip to Albania, Pope Francis recalled the country's vicious history of anti-religious persecution, saying it is now ready for the Gospel to flourish. “Recalling the decades of atrocious suffering and harsh persecutions against Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims, we can say that Albania was a land of martyrs: many bishops, priests, men and women religious, and laity … [Read more...]

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Girl’s Christmas letter to atheist dictator shows plea for peace

Tirana, Albania, Sep 20, 2014 / 05:28 pm (CNA).- A little girl’s Christmas letter asking Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha to pray for peace, not knowing of his repressive and murderous atheistic rule, has been preserved in an Albanian museum exhibit dedicated to religious belief. The letter was displayed at the Albanian National Museum in Tirana, for the special exhibition “Faith.” “We displayed that letter because we want to show that nobody was aware of what was … [Read more...]

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Albania prepares for papal Mass

Tirana, Albania, Sep 20, 2014 / 01:34 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Franciscan involved in the preparations for Pope Francis’ trip to Albania said that he hopes for a surprise from a Pope who has made a habit of breaking his routine to visit the sick. “We set the area with young people and sick people in the front, at the right and the left of the altar. Pope Francis will address young people at the beginning of the Mass, but he is not expected to go and spend time with sick people. But, … [Read more...]

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Weapons, low funding hinder Middle East humanitarian aid

Rome, Italy, Sep 20, 2014 / 07:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Foreign weapons and a lack of funding are among the serious challenges facing humanitarian response efforts in the Middle East, said participants at a recent conference in Rome. Leaders of the Caritas Internationalis family met Sept. 15-17 to address the escalating crises throughout the Middle East and discuss a coordinated regional and international response. According to Caritas Internationalis secretary general Michel Roy, the … [Read more...]

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