Pope Francis (Papa Francesco) decided to visit Albania in its fourth international visit, and his first visit in Europe.

“With this short trip I would like to confirm the faith of the Albanian Church and witness my encouragement to a land that has long suffered as a result of the ideologies of the past,” the Pontiff said in announcing the initiative.

A past of Albania, where the religious and believers have long suffered, in one of the most vicious totalitarian regimes in Europe, as was that of Enver Hoxha.

Pope Francis in Tirana

In memory of this, in the main boulevard of Tirana were exposed pictures of the religious martyrs of dictatorship, in order to remind everyone that the religious harmony in which we live in is a fundamental right to preserve and transmit to the world.

The preparations for the visit of the pope were impressive and the effort of the government visible and tangible everywhere. Mother Teresa Square has been restored, the surrounding buildings were also restored to their original splendor, public spaces freed from illegal buildings and green spaces invigorated by colorful plants and flowers.
“I am Muslim, but tomorrow I will be out there because I think that the Pope will speak to all with great faith and common sense” tells us a very young girl a day before the Pope’s visit.

Crowd in Tirana
The crowd in Tirana during the visit of Pope Francis

The Pope has celebrated Mass yesterday at 11:00 in Mother Teresa Square, where there were over three hundred thousand people as expected from many European countries. Buses came from Poland, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Slovenia etc.
The beautiful Mother Theresa Square of Tirana was crowded with the presence of numerous journalists from all European countries who were also in the organizing background.

Yesterday, Tirana was free from the daily chaos of cars and traffic, many families with children came out to walk on the festive boulevard.

Pope Francis leaving Albania
Pope Francis leaving Albania

Among the crowed boulevard, a beautiful set up and a spectacular organization in general, Pope also remembers Mother Theresa- “Grande figlia di questa terra”- “A Great Daughter of this Land”, and sends out a powerful message to all Albanians and the rest of the people around the world by wishing “Pace nelle case, nei cuori, nella vostra Nazione”- “Peace in the homes, in the hearts, in your Country”.

After years of projection of a not very positive picture, this visit brings to the world the best of Albania, its model of co-existence and religious harmony.

This was also the message sent by the Pontiff in announcing the visit, which we hope will become a global message to all those countries where religious motives become a cause of clashes and wars.