By Frank Shkreli
Memorie.al/The word and blessing addressed to “Urbi et Orbi” – the city of Rome and the whole world – is the blessing and the most solemn occasion of the Catholic Church and is reserved for the most solemn occasions of the Church, such as Easter and Christmas. The blessings “Urbi et Orbi”, addressed to the city of Rome and the World, are given from the so-called “loggia” of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, normally at 12 noon and are broadcast around the world by the European entity, the European Broadcasting Union and by other world broadcast links. The sermon and blessing on this occasion ends with greetings and congratulations from the Pope, for the celebration of the occasion, in many foreign languages, including the Albanian language.
This is very good news! This Easter Sunday (2023), side by side with Pope Francis on that platform to bless “Urbi et Orbi” and to greet the whole world on the occasion of this great holiday for the Catholic Church, will be the Albanian Cardinal, Ernest Simoni, according to an announcement from Albanian Radio Vatican. This news reminded me of the time during the cold war when, in such cases, the Voice of America broadcast without delay the Pope’s greetings addressed to the world in different languages, including the Albanian language.
Of course, this is a historic and unforgettable moment for Cardinal Ernest Simon, personally, but also for the suffering Albanian Catholic Church. Frank Shkreli: Cardinal Ernest Simoni, the living martyr of the Albanian nation Telegraph newspaper. The whole world will learn that despite the efforts of Enver Hoxha’s communist regime for half a century, to eradicate it and its clergy from the face of the earth, the Albanian Catholic Church is still alive.
The reaction of the Albanian Cardinal to be with the Pope at this moment was, understandably, very emotional and unexpected. “Extraordinary emotion upon receiving the news of the presence of the Holy Father in the blessing “Urbi et Orbi”, as cardinal daikon”, said Cardinal Simoni for Vatican Radio – “let me celebrate Easter Sunday on that balcony, from which, throughout the history of the Church, many Popes have directed prayers and blessings to the whole world”, he said.
This is a truly important moment in the life of Ernest Simon, the 94-year-old old Cardinal from Albania, representative of the martyred Albanian Catholic Church, who has been appointed a cardinal by the Pope for his testimony and his loyalty to his religion during 28 years of imprisonment and forced labor, “fearless faithful”, as Pope Francis called him, starting from 1961 until 1991.
“And who would have believed, when the dictatorship harvested and beheaded the priests, that one of them would ascend on a happy Easter day, where the most vocal representatives of Christianity ascend? “Enemy of the people” accused of having celebrated Mass for the funeral of Catholic President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, assassinated in Dallas in 1963…”, says the news published on this event by Vatican Radio and quotes a statement from Cardinal Ernest Simon on his experience in Enver Hoxha’s prisons:
“When I was in prison” – he remembers – “it was dawn, we didn’t know if we would see the sun again in the west after the day spent with torture, harassment, violence and interrogation, where we were asked to betray the contents of During the detention in the labor camps, in the mines where we extracted copper and pyrite, if a stone had fallen in the tunnels, we would all fly to Parriz, one after the other, considering the unsafe conditions in which we have work, without any security or protection”.
This was the cardinal’s life! However, he never lost hope: “I would never have believed that after so many blows, cruel pain caused by the chains that terribly tightened my wrists, that they had taken away my freedom and, above all, without my hands the service of the priest to serve the people and to announce the Great News of Redemption, you would now live such beautiful days, rich with spiritual gifts in the service of the faithful, for the salvation of souls. I never thought that you would to receive the cardinal’s womb, a great and unexpected gift, a gift that I will never take away. I have no choice but to thank Pope Francis with all my heart; we pray for the Holy Father, that God will give strength and health in his universal ministry, as the successor of Saint Peter”, Cardinal Ernest Simoni concluded his reaction to the honor that Pope Francis has given to this high prelate of the Albanian Catholic Church, inviting him to join him with the occasion of the Easter holiday to wish, bless and greet the whole world on this occasion.
Long live Cardinal Ernest Simoni, so that he too lives to testify by showing the barbaric crimes of Enver Hoxha’s communist regime, not only against the Catholic Church and its clergy, but against a nation held captive for half a century!
Peace to all Albanians with God and with each other!