Albania prepares for papal Mass

Albania prepares for papal Mass

Papal and Albanian banners line Albania's streets. Credit Daniel Ibáñez / CNA.
Papal and Albanian banners line Albania's streets. Credit Daniel Ibáñez / CNA.

.- A Franciscan involved in the preparations for Pope Francis’ trip to Albania said that he hopes for a surprise from a Pope who has made a habit of breaking his routine to visit the sick.

“We set the area with young people and sick people in the front, at the right and the left of the altar. Pope Francis will address young people at the beginning of the Mass, but he is not expected to go and spend time with sick people. But, you know, we hope that Pope Francis will go toward that area,” Fr. Vincenzo Foca told CNA.

“We expect surprises from Pope Francis,” the priest said.

Fr. Foca is part of the Franciscan mission of Albania and is serving as second master of ceremonies of the papal Mass. He will also be one of the Pope’s concelebrants on the altar during the Mass, to be held in Mother Teresa Square Sep. 21.

Almost 240 priests are expected to concelebrate the Mass.

“They hail from Albania, but also from all the countries around Albania,” Fr. Foca said. “There are priests from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo.”

“Together with them there will be 14 seminarians on the altar to assist Pope Francis during the Mass,” he added.

Fr. Foca also said that half of the Mass will be spoken in Latin, while the rest of the Mass will be in the Albanian language. The Pope will preach in Italian. Mass organizers are considering how to translate the Pope’s words without interrupting him.
 
Nearly 400,000 people are expected to take part in the papal celebration.

On Sunday Pope Francis will arrive at Mother Teresa Square on a boulevard dedicated to Albania’s fallen martyrs. Along the street, the images of 40 martyrs of Communism have been hung for the Pope’s visit.

The beatification process of these martyrs started in 2003 and is still ongoing.

Fr. Foca said that the collection of documents in favor and against a possible canonization, known as a positio, is “almost ready to be sent to Rome.”

“After that, we will wait for the decision of the college of theologians and then of the cardinal members, which we hope will give a positive response,” Fr. Foca said.

Tags: Catholic News, Pope Francis, Albania, Pope in Albania