By Devin Watkins
Catholics living in the Republic of North Macedonia can now find news about Pope Francis, the Vatican, and the Church in the world in their native tongue, as can ethnic Macedonians living in the diaspora.
North Macedonia lies in the Balkan Peninsula – bordered by Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Albania – and hosts a 20,000-strong Catholic population, three-quarters of whom belong to the Byzantine Rite.
First-fruit of Pope’s visit
The new Macedonian language page will carry the Pope’s message, thanks to an agreement between the Vatican Dicastery for Communication (Vatican News’ parent organization) and the local Church.
Bishop Kiro Stojanov of Skopje says this presence on Vatican News is “a first-fruit of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit” on 7 May.
Vatican Radio's legacy
The Macedonian language was already present on the website of Vatican Radio before the migration to the Vatican News portal.
Andrea Tornielli, the Dicastery’s Editorial Director, says the goal is to offer a renewed and more interactive presence.
“Thanks to the willingness of Bishop Stojanov, along with a small support team, we were able to create this new page, which carries great significance for a community that has an outsized importance for the nation, in terms of numbers,” said Mr. Tornielli.
To the peripheries
Catholics represent less than one percent of the total population in North Macedonia.
As Pope Francis said in a general congregation shortly before his election to the Chair of Peter, “the Church is called to go out of herself and direct herself towards the peripheries, both geographic and existential.”
With the addition of Macedonian, Vatican News is seeking to continue the mission of Vatican Radio, which has carried the Pope’s voice to all corners of the globe for 90 years.