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Intervention of Mons. Sylvester Carmel MAGRO, Titular Bishop of Salde, Apostolic Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Benghazi (LIBYA)



The Franciscan Friars Minor came to Libya in 1628 in order assist the many Christian slaves who were captured in battle, and have remained there ever since. Today this Franciscan presence is expressed by two Apostolic Vicariates: Tripoli and Benghazi.
Our two cathedral churches are the center of an intense pastoral ministry and humanitarian outreach to the thousands of Christian who come to live and settle here for several years.
The first immigrants to reach Libya, arrived here from the Kurdistan in 1975. The church was instrumental in giving assistance to many Kurdish Christian families who eventually re-emigrated and settled in other countries.
During the 1990s, the country opened its doors to welcome immigrants from the Middle East. In fact, thousands of Christians from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and from Iraq arrived and settled in both the Tripoli and Benghazi regions, and, together with their families, led a normal, industrious life.
These Christian immigrants, were consoled to find the Catholic Church in Libya, which included also several nuns from their homeland. Here they were organized into personal parishes according to their language group. Even though belonging to other rites, they adapted themselves quite well to the Latin rite peculiar to our church.
Although these immigrants found in Libya a real haven of peace and security, (for which they will be eternally grateful), yet their dream lay in the hope of “a promised land” for which they longed and prayed.
In fact, little by little, during the last 10 years, most of the original immigrants from the Middle East have left Libya, after succeeding to find a second homeland wherein to settle permanently together with their families.
The church in Libya is grate ful for having been instrumental in the hands of Divine Providence in ministering to these brethren in their hour of need.

[00098-02.02] [IN074] [Original text: English]




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