THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS IN CUBA
Throughout the past thirty nine years these friars have accompanied the people and shared in their hardships.
At present, there are sixteen solemnly-professed friars, two temporary-professed and five postulants. They are distributed in four fraternities: three in Havana and one in the town of Remedios in the Province of St. Clare.
The age-groups and countries of origin of the friars are as follows:
In spite of the advanced age of some, the friars are involved in pastoral activites, in vocational promotion and in the formation of the candidates for the Order.They attend to some thirty towns and religious centres dedicating themselves to the celebration of the sacraments, catechetical work with young people and adults and to in personalized attention to many needy people.
The formation-house is located in Guanabacoa (Havana). Two temporary-professed friars and five postulants live with their formators and some elderly friars. For the next group there are hopes to prepare another house - the friary of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem - and to establish it as a novitiate. The prospects for more vocations are very encouraging.
The presence of the friars in Cuba since 1959 is like a genuine page from the "Little Flowers of St.Francis". They have maintained their presence on the island and have lived closely to the people, sharing in their struggles. Each time that I have visited our brothers in Cuba I have been edified by their joy and acceptance of the many forms of poverty as a privileged way of living Franciscan minority in the midst of a people who struggle for subsistence and liberation.
My last meeting with the brothers in Cuba was from October 28 to November 10, 1997 for the celebration of the Chapter of the Delegation.
Juan Telesforo Zariarrain, ofm
the above information was received at our office
today Wednesday, January 21, 1998