By conventional standards, the fact that around 20,000 people gathered inside and outside the cathedral of St. Stephen in the city of Shkodër, in northwestern Albania, on November 6 for a Mass to beatify 38 Soviet-era martyrs under the government of Enver Hoxha probably doesn’t rate as a banner headline.
Albania, after all, is a nation of fewer than 3 million people, in Europe but not of Europe, and a country with a Muslim majority where the Catholics are a minority - they make up just 10 percent of the population.
Since the beginning of his papacy, however, Pope Francis has been passionate about the peripheries, driven by the belief that big things often come in small packages. That’s certainly true in the case of Father Giovanni Fausti, like Francis a member of the Jesuit order, and one of the martyrs beatified last month.
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