Slovakia: Bestowing the Mission Cross

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On the day of the Porziuncola Indulgence, August 2, 2008, at the Marian Sanctuary of Levoča, the Provincial Custos of Slovakia, Friar Lucian M. Bogucki bestowed the mission cross upon Friar Marek M. Redlich who is leaving for missionary service in Albania.

The celebration brought together a large number of Secular Franciscans along with the Friars from the Friaries of Slovakia. In his homily, the Custos began with the words that St. Francis used with the Pope in seeking the Porziuncola Indulgence: “Holy Father, I am not asking for the days, but for the souls…”. The desire for the human soul has stimulated the Friars of Slovakia to go to Balcani in Albania. Friar Lucian said that this desire for the salvation of souls has embedded itself in the heart of Friar Marek by means of his missionary vocation.

From January of this year, Friar Marek has been preparing himself to go to Albania, taking a course in Italian at Padua, and then participating in a formation course in Verona for future missionaries destined for Balcani, organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference.

The Friars of Slovakia have begun their Franciscan Missionary Presence in the southern part of Albania, where the Friars from the Paduan Province had worked 61 years ago. Friar Jaroslav Cár, who received the Mission Cross from the hands of the Vicar Provincial of Padua at the Tomb of St. Anthony, has been present in Albania since October 21, 2007. This was the initiative of the Friars from Padua who have expressed their willingness to collaborate with the reopening of the Conventual Presence in Albania. In these first months, Friar Jaroslav has been the guest of the Episcopal Curia in Vlorë.

Actually, Friars Jaroslav and Marek have begun their work at Fierë and surrounding areas. Fierë is an industrial town of about 100 thousand inhabitants, nestled in the crossroads that join North to South and East to West, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Tirana. It is here that one finds at a church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, a pastoral center and building that would be able to accommodate the Friars.

Friar Thomáš Lesňák