Couples will not be allowed to get married on Sundays anymore in Albania, because on Sundays people should go to mass, sources reported.
The archbishop of Shkoder-Pult, Angelo Massafra, announced on Thursday that from January 1, he will not allow people to get married on Sundays, causing surprise and some dismay among Catholics in Albania.
Artur Jaku, a priest in Shkodra, told Albanian Public Television that “A traditional Sunday for us Catholics is to attend Mass, and with weddings celebrations on the same day, the couple and all their family and friends could not attend.”
Sources said that another reason was the fact that every Sunday in summer months in the main Catholic cathedral, 15 to 20 couples take their wedding vows, and that is a “large number to be given the care they deserve during the ceremony.”
Jaku also pointed out that the Sunday weddings in church are a custom that Catholic Albanians only embraced at the beginning of the 1990s.
“Celebrating a marriage in church on Sundays is a new thing; Albanians in the past used to do it on Mondays. Now they have a chance to return to the old tradition,” he said.
However some Albanians expressed confusion on social networks about the decision.
As the sources report, one social media user said the decision was odd, arguing that a wedding is a sacred occasion.
“There should not be a more cheerful moment for the church… It has to be always ready to serve people and not to impose limitations,” he wrote on Facebook.
Another called the decision a mistake, noting that “Sunday is a beautiful day to celebrate love in church, it shouldn’t be changed.”
Others mentioned the fact that the Vatican never has stopped people marrying in church on Sundays and expressed concerns that the change could make couples decide not to hold their weddings in church.
Klevis Paloka, a Catholic, told the sources that it was correct because Sunday Mass is the most important event for a believer.
“The wedding can be organized on another day. In the Bible it does not say that it has to be on Sunday, but it says that that is a day to be dedicated only to God,” Paloka underscored.
The Shkodra area is considered the most important center for Albanian Catholics, and they make up around of 47 per cent of the local population, while Muslims make up 45 per cent.