On 10 December 2022, in the presence of the Archbishop of Turin, Monsignor Roberto Repole, and the Bishop of Sofia, Monsignor Christo Proykov, the diocesan process of beatification of Father Giueppe Alloatti (1857-1933) was closed. Present were the officials who supervised the process, the Mother General of the Eucharistine Sisters, some Daughters of Charity and Nazarene Sisters, and students of the Alberoni College Mission.
With the gesture of sealing the boxes containing all the writings of Father Alloatti to be sent to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome, a heroic testimony of the proclamation of the faith to the Macedonian and Bulgarian people was also given to the Church. A fellow missionary in Thessaloniki wrote of him: “He was a missionary in the true sense of the word. For many years, in his mission in the Macedonian villages, he found himself living the apostolic activity in a way that one must have known this existence to know what it represents in terms of suffering and self-denial. I don’t know if any other missionary led a more heroic life than his: he was of extraordinary mortification and, although he practised an austere lifestyle, he always remained an affable and kind brother”. From where did he draw this charitable missionary energy? From Jesus in the Eucharist, which he wanted to be the charismatic centre of the Eucharistic sisters, which he bequeathed to the land of Bulgaria together with his sister Eurosia. And together with the reading of the Word of God, which she read on her knees: “One day”, says Father Timothy Yanev, “I knocked at her door. A faint voice answered me: Come in. I opened the door and saw Father Giuseppe kneeling at the large window overlooking the garden, open, his long hair on his shoulders, his hands folded on his chest, and in front of him the open Gospel on which he was meditating. It seemed like a vision to me. From that moment on, I began to love more my vocation as a priest. The saints leave us this testimony of life. The brothers in Turin have prepared an image to pray for the beatification of Father Alloatti. They recite it together every day.
Mission of the brothers of Albania in Thessaloniki
In an ideal continuation of Father Alloatti’s mission in the 90th year of his death, the confreres of Albania have decided to set out on mission to Thessaloniki, in northern Greece (the ancient Thessaloniki of St. Paul), which was also the base of Father Alloatti’s missionary journeys. The Vincentian community of Thessaloniki, dependent on the CM Province of France, is made up of four confreres and runs the parish of the Immaculate Conception, which is responsible for 10 missionary centres spread over an area of about 100 km. In these centres there are Albanian Catholics who have emigrated there in large numbers and it is mainly they who have been involved in the mission, carried out by Fathers Augustin and Ferdinant.
“We, the Albanian fathers, in collaboration with our brothers in Thessaloniki”, writes Father Augustine, “have organised a collaboration concerning some mission periods during the year for the Albanian Catholics in Thessaloniki and the surrounding area. We met in October 2022 with Fathers Andrei Maximiliam and Lito (nickname of Shaw Sandoval Naphtali) from Thessaloniki and, together with them and the Bishop of Sapa (Albania) Simon Kulli – in charge of the Albanian Catholics in the diaspora – we organised three mission periods for 2023: 10 days in January, 10 days in April (after Easter) and 10 days in November. It was a meeting of understanding, cooperation and planning. So Ferdinant and I went to Greece from 2 to 13 January and together with the fathers of Thessaloniki we carried out this mission, celebrating the Eucharist, visiting and blessing the families, hearing confessions and listening to the sick in Thessaloniki, Mihanjona, Redestos, Katerini, Iannizà, Agio Athanasio and all the other parish centres.
It was exhausting, but beautiful. The fathers of Thessaloniki were very welcoming and fraternal. We saw people thirsty for the Word of God and in need of listening. This fulfils the dream of our Albanian community to open ourselves to the mission even more than we are already experiencing. We hope that the Albanian Daughters of Charity will also join us as missionaries in the coming period: they have been invited and are now studying the proposal. Our contribution to evangelisation is very effective because the Catholic majority in these areas is ethnic Albanian. When they hear their mother tongue, they feel loved, and this strengthens them in their faith. The Bishop of Corfu-Thessaloniki, Georgios Altouvas, was also very satisfied with our contribution.