Archive for the ‘Martyrs of Albania’ Category

Feast of Blessed Ndoc Suma (April 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ndoc Suma

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NDOC SUMA (JULY 31, 1887-APRIL 22, 1958)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1958

Blessed Ndoc Suma comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Suma, born in Nënphat, Lezhë, Albania, on July 31, 1887, was a subject of the Ottoman Empire until Albanian independence (1912).  he studied theology at Skrodrë, Albania, then at the Jesuit Collegium Canisianum, Innsbruck, Austria, Austria-Hungary.  Our saint returned to Albania, whwere he joined the ranks of priests in the Archdiocese of Skrodrë-Pult on September 21, 1911.

During the subsequent political changes and stages of his homeland, Suma served as a parish priest in seven towns.  After the fascist occupation ended in 1944, the communist government came to power.  That government cracked down on religion.  Albanian authorities arrested Suma while he was saying Mass in Laçu on December 8, 1946.  The charge was being a spy.

The verdict was guilty, of course.  Our saint, sentenced to thirty years in prison, as well as hard labor, was near death when freed on November 25, 1957.  He, aged seventy years, died in the village of Pistull on April 22, 1958.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Suma.  Pope Francis declared him a Venerable in 2016 then a beatus later that year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HONORIUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF MARY RAMABAI, PROPHETIC WITNESS AND EVANGELIST IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD CHALLONER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, RELIGIOUS WRITER, TRANSLATOR, CONTROVERSIALIST, PRIEST, AND TITULAR BISHOP OF DOBERUS

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Ndoc Suma boldness

to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Blessed Ndue Serreqi (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ndue (Karl) Serreqi

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NDUE SERREQI (FEBRUARY 26, 1911-APRIL 4, 1954)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1954

Also known as Blessed Karl Serreqi

Blessed Ndue (Karl) Serreqi comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Our saint, born Ndue Serreqi in Shkodrë, Albania, on February 26, 1911, studied under Franciscan friars.  He joined that order as a young man.  Our saint, ordained a priest, as Father Karl, in Brescia, Italy, in June 1936, served as a parish priest in the mountains of Albania.

Albania, formerly under Italian fascist occupation, came under communist control in 1944.  The government began to suppress religion in 1946; it focused particular ire on Roman Catholics, who had enjoyed official favor during the fascist occupation.  This stereotyping labeled all Albanian Roman Catholics as fascists.

Consider the following, O reader:

Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him.  He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents’ lives.  This secret, which admits of no exceptions, is called the “sacramental seal,” because what the penitent has made known to the priest remains “sealed” by the sacrament.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition (1997), paragraph #1467

Albanian authorities arrested Serreqi on October 9, 1946.  They demanded that Father Karl reveal details of the confessions of anti-communist rebels.  The priest, incarcerated and tortured, refused to break the sacramental seal of confession.  The court sentenced our saint to death on January 18, 1947.  However, the sentence became life in prison.  The priest, having suffered greatly in prison, died behind bars on April 4, 1954.  He was 43 years old.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Father Karl.  Pope Francis declared Serreqi a Venerable then a beatus in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUTTA DISIBODENBERG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND HER STUDENT, SAINT HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SZCESNY FELINSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF WARSAW, TITULAR BISOHP OF TARSUS, AND FOUNDER OF RECOVERY FOR THE POOR AND THE CONGREGATOIN OF THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE FAMILY OF MARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SAJNA, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940

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Gracious Lord, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Blessed Ndue (Karl) Serreqi]

whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 28:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Blessed Mark Gjani (March 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Mark Gjani

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARK GJANI (JULY 10, 1914-MARCH 21, 1947)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1947

Also known as Blessed Mark Xhani

Blessed Mark Gjani comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Gjani became a priest.  He, born in Mirditë, Principality of Albania, on July 10, 1914, grew up in a stronghold of Roman Catholicism the majority-Islamic country.  He studied theology in Skrodra, Albania; then in Bobion, Italy.  Our saint, ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult on March 21, 1942, had a brief ministry.

Above:  The Flag of Albania, 1946-1976

Image in the Public Domain

Albania, occupied by Italy (1939-1943) then the Third Reich (1943-1944), came under communist rule in 1944.  The ironically named Democratic Government of Albania (1944-1946) was an interim and non-democratic regime.  Its successor was the equally ironically named People’s Republic of Albania (1946f).  The Albanian government cracked down on religion, starting in 1946.  The government seized most religious property, expelled all foreign-born religious workers, and forbade religious organizations from educating the young and operating philanthropic institutions.  Since the previous year, the official government line had been that Roman Catholics were fascists.  (Under Italian–fascist–occupation, Albanian Roman Catholics had enjoyed certain privileges, so the charge–an exaggeration–was not without recent historical grounding.)  Under the new regime (1946f), the Albanian government persecuted the Roman Catholic Church.

Gjani became a martyr in this context.  He resisted the torturers’ demands that he curse Christ.  Instead, our saint answered,

Long live Jesus Christ!

Gjani died at Shën Pal, Mirditë District, on March 21, 1947.

Above:  Administrative Districts in Albania, 1959

Image in the Public Domain

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Gjani.  Pope Francis declared him a Venerable in 2016 then a beatus later that year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 23, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MARTIN DE PORRES AND JUAN MACIAS, HUMANITARIANS AND DOMINICAN LAY BROTHERS; SAINT ROSE OF LIMA, HUMANITARIAN AND DOMINICAN SISTER; AND SAINT TURIBIUS OF MOGREVEJO, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF LIMA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCISZEK DACHTERA, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1944

THE FEAST OF THEODORE O. WEDEL, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; AND HIS WIFE, CYNTHIA CLARK WEDEL, U.S. PSYCHOLOGIST AND EPISCOPAL ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF THOMAS AUGUSTINE JUDGE, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST; FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SERVANTS OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, THE MISSIONARY SERVANTS OF THE MOST BLESSED TRINITY, AND THE MISSIONARY CENACLE APOSTOLATE

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Mark Gjani

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of the world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Blessed Mikel Suma (April 16)   1 comment

Above:  Blessed Mikel Suma 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MIKEL SUMA (MARCH 23, 1897-APRIL 16, 1950)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest, Friar, and Martyr, 1950

Blessed Mikel Suma is one of the more recent additions to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.

Suma was an Albanian priest and Franciscan friar.  He, born in Shkodrë on March 23, 1897, studied theology and philosophy in Shkodrë then in Vienna, Grac, and Lankowitz, Austria; as well as in Genoa, Italy.  Our saint joined the ranks of priests in Genoa on July 24, 1921.  He went on to teach at the seminary in Shkodrë.  The Communist government of Albania nationalized religion after World War II.  Anyone who resisted became an enemy of the state.  Suma resisted.  Authorities arrested him on May 24, 1948.  The verdict was never in doubt.  Suma died of cancer in prison in Shkodrë on April 16, 1950.  He was 53 years old.

Pope Francis declared Suma Venerable then beatified him in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN CASSIAN AND JOHN CLIMACUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS AND SPIRITUAL WRITERS

THE FEAST OF MARIAN ANDERSON, AFRICAN-AMERICAN SINGER AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF MARY LYON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST FEMINIST AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF PATRICK HAMILTON, FIRST SCOTTISH PROTESTANT MARTYR, 1528

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL SIMON SCHMUCKER, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Mikel Suma

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Blessed Pal Prunnushi (March 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Pal Prunnushi

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED PAL PRUNNUSHI (OCTOBER 2, 1881-MARCH 11, 1948)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1948

Blessed Pal Prunnushi is one of the more recent additions to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.

Prunnishi, born a subject of the Ottoman Empire, died in another country, still his homeland.  He, born in Shkodrë, Albania, on October 2, 1881, studied theology in Schoz, Austria; Caldaro, Italy; and Grac, Austria.  Our saint, a Franciscan, became a priest.  The ordination occurred in Shkodrë on March 25, 1904.  He went on to serve as a parish priest and as a provincial vicar.

In 1946 the Communist government of Albania nationalized most religious institutions and began to suppress all dissent against this policy.  Prunnushi remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church, thereby making himself a criminal.  Agents of the government arrested him on November 15, 1946.  When authorities got around to staging a show trial, they were ready to order our saint shot.

Prennushi died on March 11, 1948.  He was 68 years old.

Pope Francis declared our saint a Venerable then beatified him, both in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SARGENT SHRIVER AND EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER, HUMANITARIANS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND SAINT OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT SAINT GALLEN

THE FEAST OF ELMER G. HOMRIGHAUSEN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF HAROLD A. BOSLEY, UNITED METHODIST MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HENRY TWELLS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Generous God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives for their faith.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like Blessed Pal Prennushi] whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Blessed Marin Shkurti (December 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Marin Shkurti

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIN SHKURTI (OCTOBER 1, 1933-APRIL 1, 1969)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1969

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You shoot me because I am a priest.  I am innocent.  Long live the faith in Christ.  Long live Albania.

–Blessed Marin Shkurti, April 1, 1969

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Albania, for most of the Cold War, was a Communist state that remained apart from the Soviet Bloc.  The Soviet Union and its satellites were hardly paradise, but Albania was worse.  Persecution of religion was a long-standing policy, but, starting in 1967, the country was officially atheistic.  The government closed all houses of worship and imposed a decade-long sentence for preaching.

Blessed Marin Shkurti, born in Samrish, Shkodrë, Albania, on October 1, 1933, became a priest and celebrated his first Mass on December 8, 1961.  He ministered openly until 1967.  Then he became an underground priest.  In 1968 he fled to Yugoslavia, but authorities extradited him.  The following year, courts convicted many of his relatives and sentenced them to either hard labor or long prison terms.  Our saint, convicted to treason, received the crown of martyrdom on April 1, 1969.  He was 37 years old.

Pope Francis declared Shkurti a Venerable then beatified him in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Blessed Marin Shkurti:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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