By Merita B. McCormack
On Saturday, November 5th, on the feast day of Albanian martyrs the relics of ten Albanian Martyrs were present during a Mass in a parish in Northern VA, USA. A presentation on their lives and heroic deeds was also held. Tens of people lined up before and after Mass at the church of St Catherine of Sienna in Fairfax County to venerate the first-class relics of ten martyrs of Albania. Among them Maria Tuci’s.
A presentation in English was presented afterwards in the parish hall where a Lay Fraternity gathered for their monthly meeting.
A general presentation in English was given on the 38 martyrs, followed by a detailed presentation focused on Blessed Bishop Vincenc Prennushi, Bl. Maria Tuci, Bl. Fran Mirakaj and Bl. Dom Shtjefen Kurti .
The details of the lives of these martyrs in Albanian language were generously provided by Fr. Gjovani Kokona, JCD , drawn from the wealth of research and archival material for the martyrs’ beatification cause. There were many questions on Albanua’s history of Atheusm and Church triumphant.
The Albanian Community in the Diocese of Arlington, VA is a thriving community, whose programs are focused on bringing together the community and sharing the best of the nation with the American brothers and sisters.
There is an Indulgence Decree issued by the Vatican, with the approval of Holy Father, Pope Francis, for those who fulfill all the conditions of Plenary or Partial indulgences and who pray to the Albanian martyrs on every fifth of the month for the next seven years, starting with November 5th 2022.
They were 38 individuals (37 men and one woman) who died either by direct killing or after the tortures suffered during the Communist regime in Albania, which lasted from 1944-1991. The martyrs lost their earthly life from 1945 until 1974. They were born at various times between 1874 and 1935; Among them there were Italians as well as one German. Each of these individuals, apart from four, were religious, priests, bishops and missionaries. Many earned their educational formation in Italian and Austrian Catholic colleges and universities.
The beatification process for Prennushi and his companions who were killed under the communist regime began on June 7, 2002, after all causes for each individual were transferred from various dioceses to that of Shkodër-Pult while Prennushi was made the lead individual for the cause. They were all given the title “Servant of God” on September 4, 2002, under Pope John Paul II, after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the official “nihil obstat” to the cause.
The diocesan processes spanned from November 10, 2002, until December 8, 2010, and it received C.C.S. validation on March 9, 2012.
The postulation sent the official “Positio” dossier to the C.C.S. in Rome in 2015 which allowed for theologians to review the cause and which was ultimately approved on December 17, 2015, completing with the C.C.S. approval on April 19, 2016. Pope Francis proclaimed that these 38 individuals were killed “in odium fidei” (in hatred of faith) and thus approved their beatification on April 26, 2016, the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel. (OLGC is patroness of Albania and the Albanians). The beatification was celebrated in Albania on November 5, 2016 and Cardinal Angelo Amato presided on the Pope’s behalf. Up to 20,000 people attended the beatification Mass, including the Archbishop of Potenza and then the cardinal-elect Ernest Simoni who was also in prison for 30 years and held a box of relics of 10 of the martyrs during the procession.
The current postulator for this cause is Fra Giovani Giuseppe Califano.
May God, Our Loed, bless all the victims of the atheistic Communism, in Albania and all around the world
I was blessed to know many of the 38 beautificated clergy in jail and can testify to their courage, and willingness to stay faithful to their religios conviction.
May God, bring peace and understanding also for the sake of these illustrious victims.