To see the saints as our friends and personal companions on our path to God – this is the idea of the book „Online with the Saints“. Young readers are introduced to over 100 saints from every age and every nation – men and women, young and old, people from every different background and of all kinds of different trades, vocations and professions. At the same time answers are offered, with the help of their example, to many of the topical issues of modern life. The series was compiled by the Dutch-born priest Michel Remery, who also created the programme Twittering with God and is the author of many other books. He has a wealth of experience in the field of evangelization and the youth apostolate, using the modern media.
Now the national youth service of the Catholic Church in Albania would like to publish this book in Albanian. Archbishop Angelo Massafra of Skoder and Pult believes the book will be a „great aid“ to the work of evangelization in his country. „Modern material is urgently needed“, he writes to ACN, „and Online with the Saints offers an innovative approach to learning more about God and the Catholic faith. It offers a means for both young and not-so-young readers to help them grow in their relationship with God by offering answers to interesting questions about modern life, based on the life experience of the Saints.“
With around 10% of Albania‘s total population of 3 million people, the Catholic Church in Albania is a little flock among a majority Muslim population. Still today 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 still more brutal persecution than in most other communist ruled nations. Its dictator, Enver Hoxna had proclaimed Albania as the „first atheist country in the world“. Since the overthrow of communism there has once again been religious freedom in the country, but there is still a great deal to do to restore a Catholic culture in society among the younger generations. With an average age of just 34.3 years, Albania has the most youthful population in Europe, and around one third of the population are aged 25 and under.
At the same time, however, this country in southeast Europe 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. Hence it is dependent on aid from abroad. ACN is proposing to help with 9500 Euros for the present project, so that Online with the Saints can be published in the Albanian language and the saints thereby become friends and companions through life for young Albanian Catholics as well.