Albania: a new confrere and a visit of the Europe Coordinator

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New confrere in the Mission of Albania

On 11 September, Fr. Zbigniew Kwiecien, coming from the Province of Warsaw, joined the interprovincial community in Albania. This assignment is not his first missionary experience, for he has spent years in Argentina, announcing the Good News in the great steppes of South America. He has also carried out his ministry in his home province, both in parishes, schools and parish missions preaching. With his incorporation, the Mission of Albania counts three confreres again, two from Poland and one from Spain. And it is still open to new missionaries who want to dedicate themselves to the proclamation of the Gospel in the Balkans.

Visit of the Coordinator of the Redemptorists of Europe and his Council

From 25 to 28 October, Fr Johannes Romëlt, the European Coordinator, his councillors Fr Gianni Congu and Fr Piotr Chyla, together with the secretary of the council, Fr Piotr Sulkowski, paid a fraternal visit to the Interprovincial Mission of Albania.

After a welcome coffee in the community, all the confreres (a total of 7, like the deacons in the Acts of the Apostles) went to the port city of Vlora, the cradle of the country’s Independence and seat of the bishop of the Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania, Mgr Giovanni Peragine. They had a meeting with him to learn about the challenges of evangelisation in the south of the country, where a new Redemptorist presence began last Ash Wednesday. The bishop’s words were very well received by the confreres, emphasising that the Redemptorist presence in Southern Albania is different from the one we have had in the city of Kamëz since 2014: it is a missio ad gentes presence where patience and openness to the Holy Spirit are required, given the small group of Catholics in these areas of the country.

The following day, 26 October, the confreres and the CRE council began the day with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Mgr Peragine in the chapel of the bishop’s house. After breakfast, they said goodbye to the bishop and left for Gjirokastra, the new Redemptorist mission station. Gjirokastra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, return to Kamëz, to the Redemptorist community, where on 27 October, meetings were held to share the experience and plan for the future, now strengthened by the presence of Fr Zbigniew in the interprovincial community.

Finally, on 28 October, the confreres and the members of the CRE council travelled to Tirana, where they met the Archbishop of Tirana-Durrës, Mgr George Frendo OP, and celebrated the Eucharist in the Cathedral of St Paul in Tirana before returning to Rome.

Fr. Laureano Del Otero, C.Ss.R.

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