With a share of 10% of Albania’s approximately 3 million inhabitants, the Catholic Church is a minority in the country. The majority of the population is Muslim. Even today, the majority of priests and religious come from abroad. Local vocations are still far from sufficient. However, training the next generation of priests is one of many challenges. ACN supports the Church in all six dioceses of the country.
In the communist era, all religions in Albania were persecuted even more cruelly than in most other communist-ruled countries. In 1967, Albania declared itself the “first atheist country in the world”. Since the political winds of change in the former Eastern Bloc countries, freedom of religion prevails again, but there is much to be done to socialise new generations in the faith. This is a difficult task against the backdrop of the deep economic crisis that the country is currently experiencing and from which the Church in Albania is also suffering.
The Church in Albania urgently needs support for youth work.
Even before the pandemic, Albania was one of the poorest countries in Europe. The younger generation, in particular, sees hardly any prospects here. Deep mistrust of state authorities, corruption, the ongoing financial crisis and, last but not least, the pandemic have all triggered a massive wave of migration. The dramatic consequences of the exodus are as obvious for the country’s growth as they are for the Church.
The local Church is dependent on help from abroad. Congregations not only lack local staff, but also the necessary resources to provide pastoral care.
ACN therefore supports the training of future priests, provides renovation aid and vehicles for pastoral care, and assists priests with Mass stipends and religious sisters with subsistence aid. Particularly close to our hearts is the Church’s support for youth pastoral care, because it gives young people, who often have no prospects, the opportunity to become better acquainted with their faith and put their own lives on a solid foundation.