Tirana (Fides Service) – Ten years ago, in conjunction with a visit by Pope John Paul II, Caritas Albania was opened. This tenth anniversary coincides with a time of “re-discovery” of the Church which kept the faith under a communist dictatorship. Caritas Albania grew with the assistance of Caritas Italy. “In a country with a social tissue to rebuild, Caritas sought to identify its role, in order to be near to the people. An important testimony because the Communist regime had made anti-Catholic propaganda a pillar of its existence” Ferruccio Ferrante of Caritas Italy tells Fides Service. “The emergencies of the decade were many, not least the war in Kosovo: Caritas tried to restore hope as well as provide material assistance”.
Caritas Italy supported Caritas Albania from the outset and it continues to cooperate with personnel on the spot and support with national programmes. Since 1991 Caritas Italy has undertaken 32 structural, social and sanitary interventions; 142 interventions of 66 diocesan Caritas offices in Italy; 16 undertaken by 9 regional Caritas delegations.
Caritas Albania can today count on 20 workers in social, health, administration and customs sectors. As well as numerous volunteers and many other people involved in the services of seven local diocesan Caritas offices. Caritas continues to grow, despite the crisis which strike Albania. “But this growth – Caritas Albania workers say – needs to take deeper root. This is what we hope for in the next few years”. (Fides Service 2/5/2003 EM lines 24 Words: 302)