ALBANIA. CARDINAL SEPE TO CONSECRATE NEW CATHEDRAL
On Saturday, 9 November Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, will consecrate the new cathedral in the diocese of Rreshen, in central Albania, a diocese newly created in 1996. The consecration of this church, which was begun in 1998, is a new sign of the continued revival of the Faith in this region of Albania - a traditionally Catholic region, right from the early years of Christianity through to the seizure of power by the communists in 1946. For decades since then the Communist regime in the country banned every expression of religious faith and during the 1960s even declared Albania to be "the first atheist state in the world". Hence, it is hardly surprising that the Lazarist Fathers who have been working here since 1993 and who include the current apostolic administrator of Rreshen, Bishop Cristoforo Palmieri, have described this as a missionary region. By now, however, around 65,000 of the 250,000 inhabitants of the diocese once more describe themselves as Catholics.
In their extreme poverty - as bad as ever, even ten years after the collapse of the communist dictatorship in Albania - there was no possibility of building the new "cathedral" without help from abroad. And so the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need stepped in. To date the charity has contributed over $39,000 to the cost of building the cathedral
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