Greetings from the Redemptorist Mission in Albania.
We want to share the experiences of the first year of our mission in Albania.
The interprovincial community of Albania was inaugurated on Monday 22nd of September, 2014, in the city of Kamëz, on the periphery of Tirana. In the initial contract with the Archbishop of Tirana-Durrës, he entrusted us the mission of Pastoral Care for the Catholic population of the largest parish in the country, St John Mary Vianney of Kamëz (Tiranë county), with its subsidiary Kasallë, and the rural parish of the Assumption of St Mary in Luz (Krujë county), potentially about 20,000 Catholics.
One month later, the Archbishop gave us the most new parish in the country, San John Paul II of Bathore, located in the city of Kamëz, and other Rural Church in Arrameras (Krujë county). The mission was divided in three sectors: Fr Dominic O’Toole as Parish Priest of St John Mary Vianney in Kamëz, Fr Andrzej Michon as Parish Priest of St John Paul II in Bathore and Fr Laureano Del Otero Sevillano, Rector of the community and serving as Administrator in the communities of Luz and Arrameras.
The mission has three Churches and Chapels. Two of them are big churches (Kamëz and Bathore), while the celebrations in the other three centers (Luz, Arrameras & Kasallë) are in a chapel or small houses without power or water. Also, the community serves to a Social Center in Bathore, where there is a community of italian Dominican Sisters who worked in the female promotion, and some Catholic cemeteries.
In July, Fr Dominic became seriously ill and had to return to Great Britain for treatment. In November 2015, he was incorporated to the London Province. We are grateful for his work and dedication, and wish him speedy full recovery. From July to November, the two confreres of the community had continued to work, and Fr Andrea is currently the Parish Priest of Bathore and Administrator of Kasallë, and Fr Laureano is the Parish Priest of Kamëz and Luz, along with the church of Arrameras.
Mission life is full of pastoral work and also some repair works in our Churches and Pastoral Centers. Both are necesary, because same activities could not start until they are in good condition to be used. Several associations helped us to sustain these material works and pastoral activities, and also some volunteers from Ireland, Italy and Spain, had spent their time in summer with us.
Of course, the principal activities of our Mission are the celebration of the Holy Mass, Sacraments, prayers (Adoration of the Holy Sacrament, Novena), catechesis, visits to families and house blessings, youth ministry groups and some services to communities of nuns. Sisters Dominicans, Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa and a Sister of Good Shepherd work with us in the parishes.
Another activities in our Churches and Pastoral Centers are:
• KAMËZ: Italian language course, ‘Chiro’ animators group with cultural activities and summer camps for children.
• KASALLË: kindergarten and Italian language course.
• ARRAMERAS: English language course and Catholics animators formation.
• BATHORE: Courses for women in sewing, embroidery and cooking, English and Italian languages, guitar and piano. Open daily is an Oratory for children, and organized competitions of soccer and volleyball and during the holidays, we organized a summer camp for children. We have a special project for the poorest parishioners such as charity clothing collection which are organized in Italy and are distributed to the poor. We also help children to buy materials at the beginning of the school.
We feel very close with the support of the entire Congregation, especially the visits of Fr. General and his consultor, Fr Alberto Eseverri, also Fr. Coordinator of Europe’s Conference and his council, and the presence of one Student of the Varsov Province during the summer. We hope that this collaboration will continue.
And again we are three in the community, thanks the generosity of Rome Province, who sent us a new member, Br Leszek Pys, for a pastoral year in our Mission.
Thank you very much for your support and prayers of your province. We promise to pray for your intentions and we wish you a Merry Christmas.
In Christ the Redeemer
Laureano Del Otero Sevillano CSsR, Andrzej Michon CSsR & Leszek Pys CSsR