New Custody in Morocco
Erection of the new Custody of the Protomartyrs of the Order in Morocco
The Franciscan presence in Morocco is rooted in the heart and desire of St. Francis who wanted to come to Morocco, and to the first sending of the brothers invited to witness the Peace and all Good of the good Father. If Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi is the place of our birth as an Order, Morocco is the place of our baptism with the testimony of the protomartyrs of the Order.
Since then, the Franciscan presence in Morocco has been virtually continuous. Throughout the centuries, the friars accompanied and attended to merchants, mercenaries and Christian captives and serving the people according to their possibilities. In 1630, the Holy See erected the First Apostolic Prefecture of Morocco entrusted to the Order of Friars Minor naming Blessed Juan de Prado as Apostolic Prefect. The figure of Father Lerchundi in the late nineteenth century is particularly significant.
In the early twentieth century, the political circumstances led to the arrival of new Spanish and French friars for spiritual assistance of Christian families, and, like their predecessors, serve the needy. Among these brothers we can mention the figure of Fr Charles-André Poissonnier who died of typhus.
The Franciscan presence structured in different Custodies and Foundations depending on three European provinces (Santiago and Granada of Spain, Three Companions of France) in 1991 gave rise to the Franciscan Federation of Morocco.
With the entry of the third millennium, the presence of the friars is internationalised as a response to the call of the Minister General who was always concerned about the future of the Order’s presence in Morocco.
On 22, 23 and March 24, 2010 the Friars Minor present in Morocco had their last Chapter as a Federation and their first of the new Custody since on March 22, 2010, the Minister General erected the new Custody of the Holy Protomartyrs of Order in Morocco, dependent on the Minister General, and named Fr Robert Mokrý as the first custodian.
The Franciscan presence in Morocco is composed of 20 friars from 12 different nationalities, spread over six fraternities who serve the small Christian communities of Morocco in the dioceses of Tangier and Rabat, giving special attention to the poor and in promoting the social and cultural life of the local people.