Albania: A Book on the Saints, for Youth Ministry

To see the saints as our friends and personal companions on our path to God – this is the idea behind the book Online with the Saints. Young readers are introduced to over 100 saints of every age and every nation – men and women, young and old, from many different backgrounds and various vocations and professions.

At the same time, with their example, answers to issues of modern life are provided. It was written by the Dutch-born priest Michel Remery, who also wrote Tweeting with God other books. He has a wealth of experience in the field of evangelization and the youth apostolate, using modern media.

Urgent need for material for young Albanians

The National Youth Service of the Catholic Church of Albania would like to publish this book in the Albanian language. The Archbishop of Skoder-Pult, Mgr Angelo Massafra, believes that the book will be a “great aid” for evangelization in Albania. He wrote to ACN that: “Modern material is urgently needed, and Online with the Saints offers an innovative approach to learning more about God and the faith. It offers a means to help young and not-so-young readers grow in their relationship with God by offering answers to interesting questions about modern life, based on the experience of the lives of the saints.”

With around 10% of Albania‘s total population of 3 million people, the Catholic Church in Albania is a small flock among a predominantly Muslim population. To date, most of the priests and religious in the country come from abroad, and home-grown vocations are still a long way from being sufficient. During communist times, all religions in the country faced even more brutal persecution than in most other communist-ruled nations. In 1967, Albania officially became the first atheist country in the world. Since the change of the political regime, there has once again been religious freedom in the country, but there is still a great deal to do to restore the faith in the younger generations. With an average age of just 34.3 years, Albania has the youngest population in Europe, and around one third of the population is under the age of 25.

At the same time, however, this south-eastern European country is the poorest in Europe, so that the Catholic Church here lacks not only sufficient Albanian-born personnel but also the necessary financial resources to provide an adequate pastoral outreach. It needs foreign aid. ACN is proposing to help with $13,775 so that Online with the Saints can be published in Albanian and the saints thereby become friends and companions through life for young Albanian Catholics.

During his Apostolic Journey to Albania in 2014, Pope Francis made this appeal to young people: “I invite you to build your lives upon Jesus Christ, upon God. They say that Albania is the youngest country in Europe and I am addressing you. I invite you to build your life on Jesus Christ, on God.”

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